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Cedar leaf oil poisoning
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Cedar leaf oil poisoning

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Cedar leaf oil is a sweet-smelling oil made from some types of cedar trees. Cedar leaf oil poisoning occurs when someone swallows this substance. Young children who smell the oil may try to drink it.

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.

Thujone (a hydrocarbon)

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  • Poisonous Ingredient

    Thujone (a hydrocarbon)

  • Where Found

    • Some furniture polishes
    • Some homeopathic medicines
    • Thuja oil
  • Symptoms

    Airways and lungs:

    • Breathing difficulty
    • Throat swelling (may also cause breathing difficulty)

    Eyes, ears, nose, and throat:

    • Loss of vision
    • Severe pain in the throat
    • Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue

    Gastrointestinal:

    • Blood in the stool
    • Burns of the food pipe (esophagus)
    • Severe abdominal pain
    • Vomiting
    • Vomiting blood

    Heart and blood vessels:

    • Collapse
    • Low blood pressure that develops rapidly

    Nervous system:

    • Coma (decreased level of consciousness and lack of responsiveness)
    • Seizures
    • Stupor

    Skin:

    • Burn
    • Irritation
  • 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.

    If the chemical was swallowed, immediately give the person water or milk, unless instructed otherwise by a health care provider. Do NOT give water or milk if the patient is having symptoms (such as vomiting, convulsions, or a decreased level of alertness) that make it hard to swallow.

  • 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 What to Expect at the Emergency Room

    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

  • The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:

    • Fluids through the vein (by IV)
    • Breathing support, including a tube through the mouth and into the lungs, connected to a breathing machine (ventilator)
    • Bronchoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the airways and lungs
    • Chest x-ray
    • EKG (heart tracing)
    • Endoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the esophagus and the stomach
    • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)
    • Washing of the skin (irrigation) -- perhaps every few hours for several days
  • Outlook (Prognosis)

    How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

Related Information

     

References

Graeme KA. Toxic plant ingestions. In: Auerbach PS, ed. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2011:chap 64.

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Review Date: 1/24/2014  

Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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