When a visiting relative leaves behind the odor of cigarette smoke or the dog needs a bath, spray air fresheners can give you a quick fix by making the air in your home smell much better. Use them with care, because they can be dangerous if swallowed.
Spray air fresheners contain chemicals including petroleum distillates and aromatic solvents. These ingredients can irritate the tissues of your body. They are also linked to cancer and brain damage, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
If a spray air freshener is swallowed, it can cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat. This can be accompanied by nausea and intestinal reactions like diarrhea, according to the 2004 "Manual of Emergency Medicine." In extreme cases, ingesting spray air freshener can lead to unconsciousness or death.
If a person swallows spray air freshener, do not attempt to make him vomit. Do not give him anything to eat or drink. Instead, it is best to immediately contact your doctor or the local poison control center. Keep the air freshener container on hand because information about the product could help medical professionals recommend further action, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.