Lewisite is an arsenic substance that was created to be an effective vesicant or blister agent in chemical warfare. Yet, when pure, it is both colorless and odorless. It is typically met as an oily brown solution with a mild geranium-like odor. They can be employed as chemical warfare agents to cause casualties and to deny an area of operation. 

It can be delivered as an aerosol, liquid, or vapor. The most common clinical effects of lewisite exposure are to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system, and these manifestations take place nearly immediately after contact.


Following a lewisite exposure, symptoms can show up right away. The following impacts of lewisite on particular body parts include:

Respiratory System

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Bloody nose
  • Hoarseness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sinus pain
  • Cough 


From seconds to minutes, there is pain and irritation, accompanied by redness after fifteen to thirty minutes and blister development after several hours. The blister starts off small in the center of the red spots and then spreads out to encompass the full area of skin that has been reddened. Moreover, lewisite blisters heal far more quickly than blisters brought on by sulfur and nitrogen mustards, the other blistering agents, and the skin’s subsequent discoloration is much less obvious.


  • Pain
  • Irritation
  • Tearing 
  • Swelling 


There is no specific test to determine the existence of lewisite. Most diagnosis is based on the signs and symptoms. Whereas individuals exposed to lewisite experience instant discomfort, the clinical effects of mustard exposure often take several hours to become apparent. Both lewisite and mustard have an effect on the eyes and respiratory system, and accidental intake of either substance may result in severe gastrointestinal problems.


Lewisite is an extremely potent irritant and blistering chemical that harms the eyes, skin, and respiratory system right away. Which includes arsenic, can produce low blood pressure and stomach problems, which are symptoms of arsenic poisoning.

The goal of treatment is to get lewisite out of the body as fast as possible while also giving supportive care in a healthcare setting. There is an antidote that works best when administered as soon as possible after exposure.

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