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First Aid for Cologne Poisoning

Last updated Feb. 28, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

Cologne Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of any product containing the compound.

What is Cologne Poisoning?

  • Cologne is a cosmetic product that is in the form of a perfumed liquid. It is made from a mixture of certain essential oils, synthetic chemicals, alcohol, and water. Cologne is commonly used as men’s spray
  • Cologne Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of any product containing the compound
  • 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)

Cologne Poisoning may be also referred to as Cologne Toxicity.

What are the Causes of Cologne Poisoning?

  • Cologne Poisoning is caused by the ingestion of Cologne (liquid). The substance may also be inhaled or exposed to one’s eye
  • The poisonous ingredient of the substance may be alcohol (either ethanol or isopropanol). This can potentially cause serious harm in children, who drink the substance
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm

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 Cologne Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Cologne Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. Several systems of the body may be affected.

The signs and symptoms of Cologne Poisoning may include:

  • Burning sensation or pain in the throat
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting (blood in vomit may be seen)
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinary difficulties; increased or reduced urine production
  • Increased heart-rate
  • Reduced blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Decreased body temperature
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Feeling dizzy, lack of coordinated movement
  • Individuals act ‘drunk’
  • Disorientation, low level of alertness
  • Seizures
  • Collapse and coma

Young children may be severely affected and may have the following signs and symptoms:

  • Severe hypoglycemia that may cause:
    • Sleepiness
    • Nausea
    • Irritability
    • Lethargy
    • Confusion

How is First Aid administered for Cologne Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Cologne Poisoning:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency help number immediately, 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
  • If skin exposure or involvement of the eye has occurred, then wash thoroughly with copious amounts of water (for at least 15 minutes)
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the compound bottle/container to the ER

The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Medically manage symptoms, such as abnormal heart rate and seizures
  • Provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Wash skin and eyes repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining hazardous compound
  • Administer activated charcoal to avoid absorbance of the substance in the body
  • Administer laxatives for elimination of the substance from the body
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line

Who should administer First Aid for Cologne Poisoning?

First aid for Cologne 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 Cologne Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Cologne 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
  • In case of severe symptoms including abnormal heart rates, seizures, and coma, it may considerably worsen the outcome. Children may be affected more severely by this type of poisoning

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 Cologne Poisoning be Prevented?

Cologne Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Always follow 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
  • Keeping any poisonous/hazardous chemicals and other materials out of children’s reach
  • 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: July 6, 2017
Last updated: Feb. 28, 2018