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Pine oil poisoning

Pine oil is a germ-killer and disinfectant. This article discusses poisoning from swallowing pine 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

Pine oil (terpenes)

Where Found

  • Various cleaning products
  • Some porcelain cleaners

Symptoms

Home Treatment

Seek immediate medical help. Do NOT make a person throw up unless you are told to do so by a doctor or poison control.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • The patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of product (as well as the ingredients and strength, if known)
  • The time it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

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.

Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

What to expect at the emergency room

The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Blood and urine tests will be done. The patient may receive:

  • Endoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the esophagus and the stomach
  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Medicines to treat symptoms
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage )
  • Washing of the skin (irrigation), perhaps every few hours for several days
  • Skin debridement (surgical removal of burned skin)

Expectations (prognosis)

How well a patient does depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment was received. Swallowing pine oil can have severe effects on many parts of the body. Usually the biggest problem is that pine oil is swallowed (aspirated) into the lungs instead of the stomach, causing problems breathing.

The faster a patient gets medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

References

Ford M, Delaney KA, Ling L, Erickson T, eds. Clinical Toxicology. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2001.

Goldfrank LR, Flomenbaum NE, Lewin NA, et al, eds. Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies. 8th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2006.

Updated: 8/3/2011

Eric Perez, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


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