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Hand lotion poisoning
     
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Hand lotion poisoning

Hand cream poisoning

 

Hand lotion poisoning occurs when someone swallows hand lotion or hand cream.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call the local emergency number (such as 911), or the local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Poisonous Ingredient

 

These ingredients in hand lotion or cream can be harmful if swallowed:

  • Dimethicone
  • Mineral oil
  • Paraffins (waxes)
  • Petrolatum
  • Various alcohols

 

Where Found

 

Various hand lotions and creams contain these ingredients.

 

Symptoms

 

Symptoms of hand lotion poisoning include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Possible blockage in the intestines that causes stomach pain

 

Home Care

 

Seek medical help right away. DO NOT make the person throw up unless poison control or a health care provider tells you to. Give the person water or milk right away, unless a provider tells you not to. DO NOT give anything to drink if the person has symptoms that make it hard to swallow. These include:

  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • A decreased level of alertness

 

Before Calling Emergency

 

Have this information ready:

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

 

Poison Control

 

Your local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline 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.

 

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

 

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

The provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated.

The person may receive:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Breathing support, including oxygen
  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Laxatives
  • Medicine to treat the effects of the poison

 

Outlook (Prognosis)

 

How well someone does depends on how much hand lotion they swallowed and how quickly they receive treatment. The faster medical help is given, the better the chance for recovery.

These products are not very poisonous, and recovery is very likely.

 

 

References

Meehan TJ. Approach to the poisoned patient. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 139. 

Theobald JL, Kostic MA. Poisoning. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 77.

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        A Closer Look

         

          Self Care

           

            Tests for Hand lotion poisoning

             
               

              Review Date: 11/13/2021

              Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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