Kerosene Poisoning


Poisons are chemical or physical agents that produce adverse responses in biological systems.

Poisoning on the other hand is the ingestion by, or exposure of a patient to excessive doses of a medicine or other substances that may cause harm.

Kerosene poisoning is similar to poisoning by other petroleum distillates; commoner in children.

Petroleum distillate hydrocarbons are poorly absorbed following ingestion
(Aspiration may occur resulting in
aspiration pneumonitis)

Clinical features of kerosene poisoning

  • CNS excitation (low doses); depression (high doses)
  • Rarely coma and seizures
  • Others: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoeal


  • Electrolytes, Urea and serum Creatinine
  • Liver function tests
  • Chest radiograph
  • Electrocardiography

Non-drug treatment for kerosene poisoning

  • Gastric lavage and decongestion are
    contraindicated because of the risk of aspiration

Supportive measures

  • Oxygen administration
  • Respiratory support
  • Monitoring liver, renal and myocardial function
  • Correct metabolic abnormalities

Drug treatment for kerosene poisoning

  • Antibiotics for aspiration pneumonitis
  • NB: Glucocorticoids are ineffective

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