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Diesel oil

Alternative names

This poisoning is caused by ingestion of diesel oil.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • Various hydrocarbons

Where Found

  • Diesel oil


  • Respiratory
    • Breathing difficulty (from inhalation)
    • Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)
  • Eyes, ears, nose, and throat
    • Severe pain in the throat
    • Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue
    • Loss of vision
  • Gastrointestinal
    • Severe abdominal pain
    • Vomiting
    • Burns of the esophagus (food pipe)
    • Vomiting blood
    • Blood in the stool
  • Heart and blood vessels
    • Hypotension (low blood pressure) develops rapidly
    • Collapse
  • Skin
    • Irritation
    • Burn
    • Necrosis (holes) in the skin or underlying tissues

Home Treatment

Ingestions of any hydrocarbon require immediate medical attention. Give water to dilute. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING!

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:
  • The patient's age, weight, and condition
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
  • The time it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Bring a sample with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • For swallowed poison:
    • Placement of a tube down the nose and into the stomach (a nasogastric tube, or an NG tube) to wash out the stomach.
    • Activated charcoal administration.
    • Endoscopy -- the placement of a camera down the throat to see the extent of burns to the esophagus and the stomach.
    • Give IV fluids.
    • Admission to the hospital.
    • Give an antidote.
    • Treat the symptoms.
  • For inhaled poisons:
    • A breathing tube may need to be inserted.
    • Oxygen.
    • Admission to the hospital or to the intensive care unit.
    • Bronchoscopy (inserting a camera down the throat into the airway to evaluate the extent of burns to the airway and lungs).
  • For skin exposure:
    • Irrigation (washing of the skin), perhaps every few hours for several days.
    • Skin debridement (surgical removal of burned skin).
    • Admission or transfer to a hospital that specializes in burn care.

Expectations (prognosis)

Extensive damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach are possible. The ultimate outcome depends on the extent of this damage. Damage can continue to occur for several weeks after the hydrocarbon was swallowed. Death may occur as long as a month after the hydrocarbon was swallowed.

Update Date: 4/16/2004

Cherlin Johnson, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT