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Eucalyptus oil overdose

Definition

Eucalyptus oil overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally swallows large amounts of a product containing this ingredient.

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

Eucalyptus oil

Where Found

Eucalyptus oil is an ingredient found in many over-the-counter products, including some:

  • Medicated rubs and liniments
  • Diaper rash creams
  • Inhalers to relieve nasal congestion
  • Medication for sore gums, mouths, and throat
  • Mouthwashes

Note: This list may not be all-inclusive.

Symptoms

Home Care

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.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • Patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed

Poison Control

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

The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate.

The patient may receive:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Breathing tube to help with breathing and protect the windpipe and lungs from getting eucalyptus oil into them when vomiting
  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Laxative
  • Medication to help reverse the effects of the poison
  • Tube through the nose into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)
  • Tube down the throat and into lungs to see damage (bronchoscopy)

Outlook (Prognosis)

Survival past 48 hours is usually a good sign that recovery will occur. If any damage to the kidneys has occurred, it may take several months to heal. Drowsiness may persist for several days.

References

Maypole J, Woolf AD. Essential oils. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 101.


Review Date: 2/16/2012
Reviewed By: Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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