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Alternative NamesKerosene poisoning
Definition Return to top
Fuel oil poisoning occurs when someone swallows, breathes in (inhales), or touches fuel oil.
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Poisonous Ingredient Return to top
Where Found Return to top
Note: This list may not include all sources of fuel oil.
Symptoms Return to top
Home Care Return to top
Seek immediate medical help. Do NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by Poison Control or a health care professional.
If the chemical is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.
If the chemical was swallowed, immediately give the person water or milk, unless instructed otherwise by a health care provider. Do NOT give water or milk if the patient is having symptoms (such as vomiting, convulsions, or a decreased level of alertness) that make it hard to swallow.
If the person breathed in the poison, immediately move him or her to fresh air.
Before Calling Emergency Return to top
Determine the following information:
Poison Control Return to top
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
See: Poison control center - emergency number
What to Expect at the Emergency Room Return to top
The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:
You may be admitted to the hospital.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.
Extensive damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach are possible. The outcome depends on the extent of this damage. Damage can continue to occur for several weeks after the poison was swallowed.
The main danger with swallowing kerosene is accidentally swallowing it into your lungs. It can also get into your lungs if you throw up kerosene you have swallowed. The kerosene can cause you to have serious lung damage. Getting a large amount into your lungs can cause you to stop breathing.Update Date: 2/17/2009 Updated by: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Greg Juhn, MTPW, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Eric Perez, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (2/7/2008).