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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home First Aid and Emergency Kerosene poisoning

Kerosene poisoning

Kerosene is a chemical used mainly in paints, pesticides, fuel lamps and heating. Ingestion and other exposures to the chemical can cause various symptoms. The poisonous ingredient is Hydrocarbons, substances that contain only hydrogen and carbon.


Signs and symptoms

Respiratory symptoms

  • Breathing difficulty - dyspnea
  • Throat swelling
  • Chemical pneumonitis due to aspiration

Eyes, ears, nose, and throat manifestations

  • Pain
  • Red eyes
  • Eye and nose irritation
  • Throat irritation/sore throat
  • Vision loss

Gastrointestinal manifestations

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the stools
  • Burns of the esophagus
  • Bloody vomiting

Heart or cardiac manifestation

  • Collapse
  • Low blood pressure

Nervous system

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Staggering
  • Weakness


  • Burns
  • Irritation
  • Skin deffating

Tests and diagnosis

  • Complete blood count
  • Blood glucose levels
  • Renal function test- blood urea and creatine
  • Serum electrolytes
  • Arterial blood gas analysis
  • Bronchoscopy- to assess burns in airways and lungs
  • Endoscopy- to assess burns in stomach and esophagus

Treatment of Kerosene poisoning

Stabilization of airways

  • Stabilization of the airway is always the first line of treatment in patients with kerosene poisoning.
  • Supplemental oxygen
  • Early intubation and mechanical ventilation is required in patient in whom oxygenation is inadequate or in a patient who has severe respiratory distress or a decreased level of consciousness.

Cutaneous decontamination

  • Decontaminate the skin as soon as possible by removing the involved clothing and thoroughly washing the skin with soap and water

Gastric decontamination

  • The role of gastric decontamination is controversial.
  • If gastric decontamination is considered, before that airways to be stabilized to minimize the risk of aspiration secondary to the patient's vomiting.
  • Regarding gastric lavage, the risk and complications of aspiration outweigh the benefits
  • Activated charcoal has a limited role in the management of hydrocarbon ingestion. Charcoal poorly adsorbs most kerosene products