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First Aid for Pine Oil Poisoning

Last updated Feb. 28, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

Pine Oil Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake (swallowing) of the compound.

What is Pine Oil Poisoning?

  • Pine oil is an aromatic oil that is extracted from various parts of the pine tree. The oil is mostly used in aromatherapy and for making perfumes
  • It is also used for its medicinal benefits including as an expectorant (for chest congestion), skin care, anti-oxidant, disinfectant, etc.
  • Pine Oil Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake (swallowing) of 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)

Pine Oil Poisoning may be also referred to variously as the following:

  • Essential Oil of Pine Poisoning
  • Pine Oil Toxicity
  • Yarmor Poisoning

What are the Causes of Pine Oil Poisoning?

  • Pine Oil Poisoning is caused by intake or ingestion of the oil. The oil may also be spilled into the eye resulting in eye-related symptoms
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • Pine oil is made from the shoots, stems, and cones of the pine tree. The poison contained in the oil is called terpene

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 Pine Oil Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Pine Oil Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. Several systems of the body, such as the respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system, vascular system, and ENT may be affected.

The signs and symptoms of Pine Oil Poisoning may include

  • Mouth, throat, and food-pipe may have burning sensation or burns; this may affect the eye, nose, and ears
  • Swelling of throat leading to speaking, swallowing, and breathing difficulties
  • Breathing difficulties due to substance ingestion/inhalation
  • Vision abnormalities including vision loss
  • Nausea and vomiting; diarrhea
  • Burning sensation on skin; irritation
  • Pain in the abdomen/stomach
  • Increased rate of heartbeat
  • Feeling dizzy, excited, nervous
  • Low response level
  • Depression
  • Loss of consciousness, collapse
  • Coma

How is First Aid administered for Pine Oil Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Pine Oil Poisoning:

  • If the individual with Pine Oil Poisoning is experiencing life-threatening symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency help number) immediately
  • 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
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • 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:

  • Gastric lavage for elimination of substance from the stomach (irrigation using special solutions)
  • Medically manage symptoms, such as abnormal heart rate
  • Provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Administer laxatives for elimination of the substance from the body
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line
  • Wash skin and eyes repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining hazardous compound
  • Surgical treatment for skin burns including removal of burnt skin

Who should administer First Aid for Pine Oil Poisoning?

First aid for Pine Oil 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 Pine Oil Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Pine Oil 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 early, through appropriate early medication and support, the outcome is generally good
  • In some case, burns in the mouth or throat may be severe, which may take longer to heal. Additionally, if a large quantity of pine oil is swallowed, it can lead severe pain, bleeding, and infection, and potentially worsen the outcome
  • In rare cases of complications, such as aspiration of swallowed oil into the lungs, the outcome may be adversely affected

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 Pine Oil Poisoning be Prevented?

Pine Oil 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 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)

It is important to give your healthcare provider a complete list of prescription and non-prescription medications that are being currently taken. This will help them in assessing the possible drug interactions within various medications and help avoid/prevent accidental or unintentional toxic drug effects.

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