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Zinc oxide overdose

Alternative names

This is poisoning from an overdose of zinc oxide.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • zinc oxide

Where Found

  • zinc oxide ointment
  • some diaper rash medications
  • some hemorrhoid preparations
  • in some skin lotions
  • calamine lotion
  • Caladryl lotion
Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • body as a whole
    • chills
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat
    • yellow eyes
  • skin
    • yellow skin
  • gastrointestinal
    • abdominal pain
    • nausea and/or vomiting
    • diarrhea

Home Treatment

Zinc oxide is considered fairly nontoxic. If swallowed in large doses call Poison Control.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:
  • the patient's age, weight, and condition
  • the name of the 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

They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:
  • Induce vomiting.
  • Use gastric lavage .
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis)

Because of the basic nontoxic nature of zinc oxide, recovery is very likely.

Update Date: 1/29/2004

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