New Zealand Woman Mistakenly Superglues Mouth Shut; Are There Health Risks From Superglue Exposure?

Lip gloss
New Zealand police showed up to a 64-year-old woman's residence to find the owner struggling to breathe after accidentally gluing her mouth shut with superglue. Creative Commons

1-1-1 operators in New Zealand were alarmed by a woman's inaudible grunts during a frantic emergency call last Thursday, and police officers were immediately dispatched to her Dunedin residence.

Arriving officers found a 64-year-old woman who had unknowingly applied a quick-drying adhesive, superglue, to her lips, sealing her mouth shut.

"She could only grunt. She sounded gagged or possibly had a medical condition," Senior Sergeant Steve Aitken told the Otago Daily Times.

According to the reports, the woman awoke during the night with dried lips in search of cream. After she had "mistaken a tube of superglue for lip cream," the woman's mouth was glued shut, obstructing her breathing. The unidentified woman was taken to a nearby Dunedin Hospital for medical treatment and was soon after discharged.

When applied to the skin, superglue is usually removed using acetone, a solvent found in basic nail polish remover. Luckily for the woman, the solvent is considered low in toxicity given that it's a natural product of the body's metabolism.

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