Petroleum

Although not strictly a household chemical, access to petroleum in the home is easy.

Clinical features

Gastrointestinal ingestion and absorption gives clinical features similar to those of alcohol intoxication with more severe central nervous system depression.

Management

• Gastric elimination techniques must be avoided since a few drops of petroleum spilling into the lungs can lead to a severe pneumonitis. This is due to the low surface tension and vapour pressure of petroleum allowing rapid spread through the lungs.

• Treatment involves supportive therapy and 250ml liquid paraffin orally.

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