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First Aid for Beeswax Poisoning

Last updated March 1, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Beeswax is a soft compound that is yellow to deep brown in color and is secreted by the honey bee drones (workers). It is also known as cera alba. Beeswax Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake (consumption) of beeswax and beeswax products.

What is Beeswax Poisoning?

  • Beeswax is a soft compound that is yellow to deep brown in color and is secreted by the honey bee drones (workers). It is also known as cera alba
  • The type and constituents of beeswax may vary from one geographic region to another, depending on the type of bees that produce the wax
  • Beeswax are commercially used in the food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and candle-making industries. It is also used in preparing surgical bone wax, shoe and furniture polish, and certain resins
  • Beeswax Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake (consumption) of beeswax and beeswax products
  • The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)

Beeswax Poisoning may be also referred to as the following:

  • Beeswax Toxicity
  • Cera Alba Poisoning

What are the Causes of Beeswax Poisoning?

  • Beeswax Poisoning is caused by eating or swallowing beeswax products in substantial quantities 
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • Beeswax contains compounds, such as cerotic acid, myricin, and other hydrocarbon compounds. These are generally not considered to be toxic

Note: The compound can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Beeswax Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Beeswax Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. The signs and symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach and abdominal pain
  • Obstruction of the bowel, if significant quantities are consumed

How is First Aid administered for Beeswax Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Beeswax Poisoning:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency help number, for emergency assistance
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
  • Provide them with information such as the compound taken, quantity and time of ingestion, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
  • Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
  • Clean the mouth to remove any remaining substance; wipe mouth with a wet cloth
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the substance to the ER

Generally, Beeswax Poisoning is a non-serious condition. With appropriate and adequate home care, the individual may recover completely, without any severe symptoms being noted. 

In case of severe symptoms, emergency health care may be required. The emergency medical professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Monitor vital signs
  • Medically manage symptoms and provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Administer laxatives for elimination of the substance from the body, if necessary
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line, if necessary

Who should administer First Aid for Beeswax Poisoning?

First aid for Beeswax Poisoning is administered by healthcare professionals.

  • The individual who is affected, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
  • They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions

What is the Prognosis of Beeswax Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Beeswax Poisoning is dependent on the amount of substance consumed, time between consumption and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • If the individual can recover from the symptoms, with appropriate medication and early support, the outcome is generally good
  • Beeswax is a non-poisonous substance, and hence, the condition is not very dangerous. In a majority of cases, early recovery is reported with prompt treatment

In general, toxicities are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.

How can Beeswax Poisoning be Prevented?

Beeswax Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Always following instructions for usage of any health or cosmetic products
  • Keeping cosmetics, medications, and other healthcare products out of reach of children in child-proof containers
  • Being aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
  • Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
  • It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
    • Type, amount and time of consumption of the substance
    • Age and weight of the individual
    • And, the overall health status of the individual

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 2, 2017
Last updated: March 1, 2018