How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

Swallowing gasoline is one of the most common hazards which people working in the oil industry face on a daily basis. Car mechanics are also exposed to the danger in case they try to siphon out gasoline from fuel tanks. Then there is the case of children trying something adventurous, and people having suicidal tendencies. While the mishap can be disastrous for a person’s health, it does give some time to strike back and bring things back under control.

The most important thing in this scenario is to avoid the common perception of making the victim vomit. When a person swallows gasoline, the fumes generated have a toxic effect on the lungs. Trying to induce a vomit, will give these fumes a second chance to contaminate the lungs and that might prove to be fatal. There are also some immediate steps which can be taken to help the victim.

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Make sure that the burping dies out immediately

Gasoline releases fumes as soon as it goes inside our system. These fumes are very dangerous to out lungs. The first thing therefore is to cancel this effect of gasoline intake.

Drink a glass of milk or water immediately

A glass of milk will go a long way in settling the fumes which are released upwards towards the lungs of the patient. If milk is not available, make sure that the victim intakes water regularly. This technique is only applicable for patients who are conscious.

Never give the patient any carbonated drinks

Carbonated drinks will facilitate the process of burping, and even if the patient insists, make sure that he has no access to frizzy drinks.

Provide moral support

Never talk about the potential hazards of gasoline swallowing in front of the patient. Keep on reminding him/her that this is problem which gets sorted in a couple of hours.

Call for professional help

Waste absolutely no time in calling for medical support. If you have a scintilla of doubt that the response can be delayed, rush the patient to the hospital.

Last updated Feb. 27, 2018

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

Gasoline Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of the compound. The intake may be through swallowing gasoline or inhaling its fumes.

What is Gasoline Poisoning?

  • Gasoline or petrol is a byproduct of petroleum distillation. It is a colorless liquid with a distinctive odor that is used as commercial and motor vehicles fuel
  • Gasoline Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of the compound. The intake may be through swallowing gasoline or inhaling its fumes
  • 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)

Gasoline Poisoning may be also referred to as the following:

  • Gasoline Toxicity
  • Petrol Poisoning
  • Petrol Toxicity

What are the Causes of Gasoline Poisoning?

  • Gasoline Poisoning is caused by the ingestion or inhalation of gasoline or petrol. The chemical may also get into the eye, resulting in eye-related symptoms
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • Gasoline is a toxic substance that is also readily combustible. Generally, it has other added compounds

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 Gasoline Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Gasoline 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 digestive system, respiratory system, vascular system, nervous system, skin and ENT may be affected.

The signs and symptoms of Gasoline Poisoning may include:

  • Burning and associated pain in the mouth, throat, and food-pipe; this may affect the nose, ears, and eyes
  • Respiratory difficulties, if the chemical is inhaled
  • Throat inflammation may cause difficulty in swallowing, breathing
  • Skin burns
  • Vision abnormalities including loss of vision
  • Headache and lethargy
  • Nausea, vomiting (blood in vomit may be seen)
  • Bloody stools
  • Stomach and abdominal pain that may be cramping
  • Sudden reduction in blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Feeling dizzy or drowsy
  • Low level of alertness or response
  • Individuals act ‘drunk’
  • Unable to walk properly; lack of coordinated movements
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

How is First Aid administered for Gasoline Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Gasoline 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
  • Carefully remove the individual from the exposure area; move them to region of fresh air immediately
  • Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
  • If exposure of the eye has occurred, then wash thoroughly with copious amounts of water. Any paint on skin may be washed away
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • Following an ingestion of the substance, immediately give water to drink
  • In case of symptoms that indicate difficulty in swallowing including vomiting or decreased alertness, do not give anything by way of mouth
  • 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:

  • Monitor vital signs
  • Medically manage symptoms and provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Gastric lavage for elimination of the substance from the stomach (irrigation using special solutions)
  • Wash eyes or skin repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining compound
  • Surgical treatment for skin burns including removal of burnt skin
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line

Who should administer First Aid for Gasoline Poisoning?

First aid for Gasoline 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 Gasoline Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Gasoline 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. This is mostly the case with mild poisoning
  • Since, gasoline is a poisonous substance, the severity of damage to the body, and consequently the prognosis, is dependent on the amount of chemical ingested and promptness with which treatment is provided
  • In some case, damage to the mouth, throat, or gastrointestinal tract may be severe. This can lead to severe pain, bleeding, and infection, and potentially worsen the outcome. The internal injuries may continue to worsen and deaths have been reported following a few weeks to months
  • In case of complications, such as aspiration of swallowed oil into the lungs or eye exposure leading to blindness (if the cornea is affected), 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 Gasoline Poisoning be Prevented?

Gasoline Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Avoiding siphoning gasoline with your mouth from an automobile tank using a tube
  • Always following instructions for usage of any household products
  • Keeping any poisonous/hazardous chemicals and other materials out of children’s reach
  • Keep all poisons correctly labeled and in suitable storage locations
  • Using appropriate protective wear when working with such chemicals (such as face masks and hand gloves)
  • Being aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)

The University of Utah Poison Control Center speaks with people who accidentally swallow gasoline almost daily. But poison specialist Brad Dahl says it’s what many people do afterward that is most dangerous. He talks about what should be done if you swallow gasoline or get it on your eyes or skin.

Interviewer: Let’s say you accidentally swallow a mouthful of gasoline, how dangerous is that?

Today we’re talking with Brad Dahl who’s a poison specialist at the University of Utah Poison Control Center. Well, tell us what you think Brad, how dangerous is gasoline?

The Dangers of Consuming Gasoline

Brad Dahl: Well that’s an excellent question because we see people accidentally swallowing gasoline all the time, I mean it’s a daily occurrence here in Utah and the important thing to know is that if you swallow gasoline and it goes down to your stomach, it’s really not that big of a deal, other than you’re going to be burping gasoline for about 24 hours, that’s not real tasty, but it will keep going, it’s not absorbed very well in your gut. But most peoples initial instinct is I have to get it out and that’s the wrong thing to do because where it is dangerous is if even a tiny drop gets into your lungs, that’ can be very dangerous because it spreads out and it coats the lungs and it really hurts the tissue in there and it makes it difficult to breath, so we do not want it in your lungs.

Interviewer: So in the poison control center, what kind of scenarios do you hear from people when they call with a potential gasoline poisoning issue?

Brad Dahl: Well the most common thing is when somebody is siphoning gasoline and again with the price of gas being so expensive now, we have people, you know, it’s easier to take it out of one vehicle to put it in another rather than go buy some more, so they’ll be siphoning it and then as they’re sucking on that tube some seems to get in their mouth, and then they accidentally swallow it after that.

Interviewer: And how much are they typically swallowing, is it just a mouthful or is it more than that?

Brad Dahl: It’s usually just a mouth full and typically it’s less than that. Some people try to spit it out but almost everybody I talk to says they swallow some of it.

Interviewer: So it’s not that dangerous if you get a mouthful?

Brad Dahl: No, even two mouthfuls wouldn’t be that dangerous as long as it goes down to your stomach and stays there or keeps going.

Rinsing Gasoline from Your Eyes

Interviewer: Now what about if you’re filling up your lawn mower or something and the gasoline splashes up into your eye?

Brad Dahl: That really hurts, so you want to get it out of your eye as soon as possible and the best way to do it is with warm water, not cold water because cold water feels better in the eye because it numbs it but it won’t move it along very well because gasoline doesn’t like water and if it doesn’t mix very well, so you want to, you know, just flush it nice and gentle through your eyes, as long as it takes to get it out, once your eyes are feeling better, you’re done.

Interviewer: And what about fumes from gasoline, any danger from those?

Brad Dahl: Yeah, yeah, if you inhale enough fumes from gasoline, I mean certainly it can cause you to be a little bit impaired and not feeling good. It can cause headache and nausea and dizziness, those are the most common things, but as far as life threatening problems, usually not that big of a deal.

Interviewer: Brad, are there different considerations when it comes to kids, if they get some gasoline in their mouth or something?

Brad Dahl: Well it’s the same risk so you want it to go down to the stomach and I know the initial feeling for a lot of parents is, I have to make them throw up and that’s the absolute wrong thing to do because that’s the easiest way to get it into the lungs. So if they’ve swallowed it you need it to keep going, so it’s a good idea to give them something to drink, just a couple of sips of something that tastes good will do it and also, if it stays in contact with your skin or the tissue in your mouth or your throat for very long, it will make it very sore and will cause a chemical burn, so you want to get it off of there and again, it’s okay to push it to the stomach, don’t worry about getting it out.

The Dangers of Gasoline inside Your Ear

Interviewer: So Brad are there any other risks with gasoline?

Brad Dahl: Yeah, one thing we see a lot is that people working on their cars in the garage and they’re lying underneath here and they’re messing around with hoses and that, that sometimes that gasoline will drip and sometimes it will go in their ears and boy when that gets inside your ear it is really, really painful and again the problem there now is how do I get it out of my ear safely, it’s very difficult to do. You want to do it with warm water and it’s okay to use a little bit of detergent but you don’t want to use any pressure, so you don’t want to be flushing it aggressively. Most of the time the best thing to do is to have a doctor do that and rinse it out, so that way you don’t hurt your ear, but you do need to get it out because that can cause some real significant damage inside your ear.

Interviewer: So where would you go to get this out? Let’s say you get gasoline in your ear or you swallow it.

Brad Dahl: Well any doctors office can deal with something like that or any kind of clinic that does emergency type services is fine. I would save the emergency room for a last resort, everything else is closed kind of situation, but I would definitely try to rinse it with warm water at home, maybe like I said, with a little mild soap but, again, you want to be very careful rinsing it, you don’t want to put any pressure into the ears.

Interviewer: With just swallowing or a kid getting it all over themselves, if there’s any worries is it okay for the parents to just go ahead and call the Poison Control Center?

Brad Dahl: Well they should do that first. You should always call the Utah Poison Center when your child gets into something and we’ll help you with it right away. We’ll answer the phone, we’ll talk to you, we’ll ask you some quick questions and a lot of the time it’s the quickness that really makes things better. So if you call us first, we can help you right away, we can make sure you do things appropriately, rather than trying to fix things that you did wrong. And that number is 1-800-222-1222 and that’s a nationwide number, you can call it anywhere in the United States or U.S. Territory and you’ll get a poison control center.

updated: February 17, 2021
originally published: June 24, 2014

This article discusses the harmful effects from swallowing gasoline or breathing in its fumes.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call 911 or the local emergency number, or your local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Poisonous Ingredient

The poisonous ingredients in gasoline are chemicals called hydrocarbons, which are substances that contain only hydrogen and carbon. Examples are benzene and methane.

Where Found

These ingredients are found in gasoline and other liquids, such as kerosene.

Note: This list may not be all-inclusive.


Gasoline poisoning can cause symptoms in various parts of the body:


  • Breathing difficulty
  • Throat swelling


  • Pain
  • Vision loss


  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood stools
  • Burns of the esophagus (food pipe)
  • Vomiting, possibly with blood


  • Collapse
  • Low blood pressure — develops rapidly (shock)
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Come (lack of responsiveness)
  • Decreased alertness and responsiveness
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling of being drunk (euphoria)
  • Headache
  • Staggering
  • Weakness
  • Burns
  • Irritation

Home Care

Get medical help right away. DO NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care provider.

If the chemical is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.

If the chemical was swallowed, immediately give the person water or milk, unless instructed otherwise by a provider. DO NOT give water or milk if the person is unconscious (has a decreased level of alertness).

If the person breathed in the poison, immediately move them to fresh air.

Before Calling Emergency

Get the following information:

  • Person’s age, weight, and condition
  • Time the gasoline was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed

Poison Control

Your local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.

The provider will measure and monitor the person’s vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The person may receive:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Breathing support, including oxygen given through a tube through the mouth into the lungs, and a breathing machine (ventilator)
  • Bronchoscopy (camera down the throat to look for burns in the airways and lungs)
  • Chest x-ray
  • ECG
  • Endoscopy (camera down the throat to look for burns in the esophagus and the stomach)
  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Medicine to reverse the effect of the poison and treat symptoms
  • Surgical removal of burned skin
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to aspirate (suck out) the stomach, but only when the victim is seen within 30 to 45 minutes of the poisoning and a very large amount of the poison has been swallowed
  • Washing of the skin (irrigation)

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well a person does depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment was received. The faster a person gets medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

Swallowing this type of poison can affect many parts of the body. Burns in the airway or gastrointestinal tract can lead to tissue death. Infection, shock and death can follow, even several months after the poison has been swallowed. Scars may form in these tissues leading to long-term problems with breathing, swallowing and digestion.

If gasoline gets into the lungs (aspiration), serious and possibly permanent lung damage can occur.

The harsh taste of gasoline makes it unlikely that large quantities will be swallowed. However, several cases of poisoning have occurred in people trying to suck (siphon) gas from an automobile tank using a garden hose or other tube. This practice is extremely dangerous and is not advised.


Nelson LS. Acute poisoning. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 102.

Wang GS, Buchanan JA. Hydrocarbons. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 152.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

If you (or a child in your care) have swallowed a substance, find the label from the product’s packet or container. Take the container and the child to the phone and call the Poisons Information Line on 13 11 26 (24 hours a day from anywhere in Australia).

Which substances often get swallowed?

Common household and garden products are often swallowed by accident. Most of these are considered to be of low toxicity when swallowed and are not likely to cause any significant harm, but there are still many products that are potentially harmful.

Some common substances that are swallowed include:

  • cleaning products
  • bleach
  • paints or paint cleaning products
  • make-up and cosmetics
  • plant food
  • ink
  • air fresheners or aromatherapy oils
  • medicines

When should I call an ambulance or go to the emergency department?

If you suspect that someone has taken an overdose or has been poisoned do not try to treat them yourself. Get medical help immediately.

If the person is showing signs of being seriously ill, such as vomiting, loss of consciousness, drowsiness or seizures (fits), call triple zero (000) for an ambulance, or take the person to the closest emergency department.

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — Our Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

What should I do while waiting for the ambulance?

If the poisoned person has collapsed or is not breathing, start resuscitation.

Wash the substance off the face with water.

Take a photo of the label or note down the product details.

Do not eat or drink anything unless you have been advised to do so on the package instructions.

Do not to try to make yourself vomit as this could cause choking or block your airway.

What are the warning signs/symptoms when a substance is swallowed?

The signs of a swallowed substance depend on the substance. They may include:

  • the smell of the substance on the person’s breath
  • burns around and inside the mouth or on the tongue
  • burning pain from mouth to stomach
  • nausea, vomiting
  • tummy pain
  • breathing problems
  • chest tightness
  • headache
  • hearing and vision changes
  • blueness on the lips, face, earlobes, fingernails
  • drowsiness
  • loss of consciousness
  • a seizure

The symptoms may be immediate, but with some substances they may be delayed, sometimes for several days.

CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use our swallowed or inhaled substances Symptom Checker and find out if you need to seek medical help.

Why might someone swallow a substance?

It is common for children to swallow substances. You might not realise they can reach a cupboard, or that something you left in their reach (like a medicine or washing up liquid) is poisonous. Children may swallow a substance if they are not properly supervised, there are visitors in the house with medicines, or when they learn to crawl or walk.

Sometimes substances may be swallowed accidentally, for example, if they are stored in containers like drink bottles.

Adults may swallow too much of, or the wrong medicine by mistake, drink too much alcohol or swallow a dangerous substance at work.

Some people may swallow substances deliberately to harm or injure themselves. If you have done this, you should know you are not alone and help is available. Please discuss this with a healthcare professional.

Find out more about self-harm.

Suspicion of deliberate harm

If there is any suspicion that the poisoning was not the result of an accident and that it was deliberately inflicted, you should seek help from a healthcare professional as soon as possible. This could be a nurse or doctor at an emergency department, doctor’s surgery, health visitor or school nurse.

You can also search for local services and agencies that can offer confidential advice in the National Health Services Directory.

How is a swallowed substance diagnosed?

A doctor will examine you and discuss what the substance was. They may do a blood test, urine test or an x-ray and will monitor you closely.

It is very helpful if you can provide them any information you can, including details of the product, a sample of any vomit, the container or a suicide note if applicable.

How is someone who has swallowed a substance treated?

Treatment depends on the substance taken. It may include giving you an antidote to the substance if there is one, flushing the stomach out with water or giving you activated charcoal to prevent the substance from being absorbed through the gut into your bloodstream. Rarely, the contents of the stomach may be emptied.

How do I prevent a substance from being swallowed?

Many household substances are poisonous if swallowed. It is very important to store all medicines, chemicals and cleaners in a high, locked cupboard out of sight and reach of children.

Here are some tips on how to keep your medicines stored safely:

  • Try to keep medicine in its original packaging, as this will include the ingredients, dosage instructions and expiry date.
  • A medicine cabinet is a good place for storage. It should be high enough off the ground that children cannot access the cabinet or its contents. Ideally, it should be at least 150 cm off the ground, with a lock.
  • Take medicines that you don’t need anymore, or that are out of date, to your local pharmacy and they will dispose of them safely.

Complications when a substance has been swallowed

Some swallowed substances can be highly toxic or can burn your gut or airway. They can affect your heart, blood pressure and breathing, and can lead to problems with organs including the kidneys and liver.

Fuel oil poisoning occurs when someone swallows, breathes in (inhales), or touches fuel oil.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Poisonous Ingredient

Substances called hydrocarbons are the harmful ingredients in fuel oil.

Where Found

These substances are found in:

  • Fuel oil
  • Kerosene
  • Gasoline

There may be other sources of fuel oil.


Below are symptoms of fuel oil poisoning in different parts of the body.


  • Loss of vision
  • Pain in the throat
  • Pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue


  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting, (may contain blood)


  • Collapse
  • Low blood pressure that develops rapidly
  • Breathing difficulty (from breathing theВ fumes)
  • Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling of being drunk (euphoria)
  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of alertness (unconsciousness)
  • Seizures (convulsions)
  • Staggering
  • Weakness
  • Blisters
  • Burn
  • Irritation
  • Peeling of the skin

Home Care

Get medical help right away. DO NOT make the person throw up unless poison control or a health care provider tells you to.

If the fuel oil is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.

If the person swallowed the fuel oil, give them water or milk right away, unless a provider tells you not to. DO NOT give anything to drink if the person has symptoms that make it hard to swallow. These include vomiting, seizures, or a decreased level of alertness.

If the person breathed in fumes, move them to fresh air right away.

Before Calling Emergency

Have this information ready:

  • Person’s age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the product, if known
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed

Poison Control

Your local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

The provider will measure and monitor the person’s vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.

Tests that may be done include:

  • Bronchoscopy — camera placed down the throat to look for burns in the airways and lungs
  • Chest x-ray
  • ECG (electrocardiogram or heart tracing)
  • Endoscopy — camera down the throat to look for burns in the esophagus and the stomach

Treatment may include:

  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Medicine to treat symptoms
  • Washing of the skin (irrigation), perhaps every few hours for several days
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)
  • Breathing support, including tube through the mouth into the lungs and connected to a breathing machine (ventilator)

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well someone does depends on how much fuel oil was swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster medical help is given, the better the chance for recovery.

Swallowing such poisons can have severe effects on many parts of the body. Burns in the airway or gastrointestinal tract can lead to tissue necrosis, resulting in infection, shock, and death, even several months after the substance is first swallowed. Scars may form in these tissues leading to long-term difficulties with breathing, swallowing, and digestion.

If fuel oil gets into the lungs (aspiration), serious and possibly permanent lung damage can occur.


Aronson JK. Organic solvents. In: Aronson JK, ed. Meyler’s Side Effects of Drugs. 16th ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier; 2016:385-389.

Wang GS, Buchanan JA. Hydrocarbons. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 152.

, MD, University of Colorado

Symptoms depend on which gas or chemical is inhaled and how deeply and for how long it was inhaled.

Symptoms may include irritation of the eyes or nose, cough, blood in the sputum, and shortness of breath.

Chest x-rays, computed tomography, and breathing tests are used to determine how much lung damage has occurred.

Oxygen and drugs to open the airways and decrease inflammation are given.

Gases such as chlorine and ammonia easily dissolve and immediately irritate the mouth, nose, and throat. The parts deep inside the lungs are affected only when the gas is inhaled deeply. A common household exposure occurs when a person mixes household ammonia with cleansers containing bleach. The irritant gas chloramine is released.

Did You Know.

A common household exposure to a chemical gas occurs when a person mixes household ammonia with cleansers containing bleach.

Some gases—for instance, nitrogen dioxide—do not dissolve easily. Therefore, they do not produce early warning signs of exposure, such as irritation of the nose and eyes, and they are more likely to be inhaled deeply into the lungs. Such gases can cause inflammation of the small airways (bronchiolitis) or lead to fluid accumulation in the lungs (pulmonary edema).

Silo filler’s disease (which mostly affects farmers) results from inhaling fumes that contain nitrogen dioxide given off by moist silage, such as fresh corn or grains. Fluid may develop in the lungs as late as 12 hours after exposure. The condition may temporarily resolve and then recur 10 to 14 days later, even without further contact with the gas. A recurrence tends to affect the small airways (bronchioles).

Inhalation of some gases and chemicals may also trigger an allergic response that leads to inflammation and, in some cases, scarring in and around the tiny air sacs (alveoli) and bronchioles of the lung. This condition is called hypersensitivity pneumonitis Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a type of inflammation in and around the tiny air sacs (alveoli) and smallest airways (bronchioles) of the lung caused by a hypersensitivity reaction to inhaled. read more .

Radioactive gases, which may be released in a nuclear reactor accident, may cause lung cancer Lung Cancer Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. About 85% of cases are related to cigarette smoking. One common symptom is a persistent cough or a change in the character. read more How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline and other cancers many years after the exposure.

Other inhaled gases may cause a general body poisoning (including breathing difficulty) because they are poisonous to the body’s cells (such as cyanide) or because they displace oxygen in the blood and therefore limit the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues (such as methane or carbon monoxide).

In some people, inhalation of small amounts of gas or other chemicals over a long period may result in chronic bronchitis (inflammation of the airways). Also, inhalation of some chemicals, such as arsenic compounds and hydrocarbons Hydrocarbon Poisoning Sniffing glue or swallowing gasoline, paint thinners, some cleaning products, or kerosene can cause hydrocarbon poisoning. Swallowing or inhaling hydrocarbons can cause lung irritation, with. read more How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline , can cause cancer. Cancer may develop in the lungs or elsewhere in the body, depending on the substance inhaled.

Symptoms of Gas and Chemical Exposure

Soluble gases such as chlorine, ammonia, and hydrofluoric acid cause severe burning in the eyes, nose, throat, windpipe, and large airways within minutes of exposure to them. In addition, they often cause cough and blood in the sputum (hemoptysis). Retching and shortness of breath also are common.

Less soluble gases such as nitrogen dioxide and ozone cause shortness of breath, which may be severe, after a delay of 3 to 4 hours and sometimes up to 12 hours after exposure (see also Air Pollution–Related Illness Air Pollution–Related Illness Illnesses related to air pollution are considered environmental lung diseases. (See also Overview of Environmental Lung Diseases.) The major components of air pollution in developed countries. read more ). With less soluble gases, long-term lung damage can occur and cause chronic wheezing and shortness of breath.

Diagnosis of Gas and Chemical Exposure

A history of relevant exposure

Chest x-ray or computed tomography (CT)

A chest x-ray can show whether pulmonary edema or bronchiolitis has developed. Computed tomography is especially helpful when people have symptoms but their chest x-ray looks normal.

A sensor is attached to the person’s finger to determine the amount of oxygen in the blood (pulse oximetry).

Tests of lung function, including determining how much air the lungs can hold and the rate at which oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged, are done to evaluate lung damage.

Prognosis of Gas and Chemical Exposure

Most people recover completely from accidental exposure to gases. The most serious complications are lung infection or severe damage that causes scarring of the small airways (bronchiolitis obliterans). Some studies have shown long-term impairment of the lung function years after episodes of exposure to gases.

Prevention of Gas and Chemical Exposure

The best way to prevent exposure is to use extreme care when handling gases and chemicals. People using cleaning products or other chemicals at home should work in well-ventilated areas.

Gas masks with their own air supply should be available in case of accidental spillage. Farmers need to know that accidental exposure to toxic gases in silos is dangerous, even fatal. People should not enter an environment where poisonous gases may be present to rescue an exposed person unless they have protective gear.

Did You Know.

People should not enter an environment where poisonous gases may be present to rescue an exposed person unless they have protective gear that supplies them with fresh air or oxygen from a tank.

This article was reviewed by Sara Siddiqui, MD, who is a clinical assistant professor with the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Langone.

Babies get gas just like the rest of us. But too much gas can be painful for babies. Here’s what you need to know about burping and other techniques that can help prevent gas buildup and make your baby more comfortable.

Babies get gas while feeding but burping can help

A baby will often swallow air while breast or bottle feeding, causing a buildup of gas in their stomach or lower intestine.

This can happen if your baby is not properly latched to the nipple or is in an incorrect feeding position, says Mike Marinus, DC, a pediatric chiropractor who researches colic and reflux in babies.

Babies may also swallow more air if they have a condition called tongue-tie, which leads to improper latch during feeding.

Babies gastrointestinal tract is not developed fully and may be a factor for babies having excessive gas. Moreover their abdominal muscles are also not well developed in the first few months after birth, which also makes it difficult for babies to push out air on their own. That’s why many infants will need help getting rid of gas early on.

Experts recommend burping your baby whenever you switch breasts if you are breastfeeding, or for every 2 to 3 ounces of liquid if bottle-feeding. If babies squirm or turn away while feeding, this may be a sign that they need to burp.

Marinus suggests using an upright position when burping to help the air rise upward through the esophagus and out the mouth. Most babies stop needing to be burped until around 4 to 6 months of age.

How to help babies who have excess gas

If burping doesn’t help, Marinus recommends a few other steps to help relieve or prevent gas:

  1. Check for feeding difficulties. This can include issues with latching, not feeding in a “head above feet” position, or a possible tongue-tie.
  2. Help with lower gas. Babies arching their backs, having a swollen belly, and pushing until red in the face can be signs that they need to pass gas. You can help by moving your baby’s legs in a bicycle motion or pushing the legs gently up toward the chest.
  3. Foods. What moms eat can show up in their breast milk and cause more gas for babies, particularly foods like cauliflower, cabbage, beans, and broccoli, Marinus says. Babies may also be sensitive to certain foods like dairy or gluten and moms may need to remove this from their diet or find a formula substitute.
  4. Probiotics. Probiotics are bacteria that can help with digestion and have been shown to reduce gassiness in people with digestive issues. You can look for baby products that contain Lactobacillus reuteri to help your baby with excess gas.

Crying can be a sign of pain, but is probably not a serious issue

Gas buildup can cause a lot of pain for your infant and cause crying spells lasting longer than 3 hours, known as colic. This is not only distressing for the baby but for the parents as well.

Gas itself is not a dangerous condition, but in rare cases, it can be a sign of more serious issues, Marinus says.

“Other symptoms to look out for might be not pooping, blood in the stool or blood in the vomit, being so fussy that they cannot be calmed by any means and possibly a fever.” You should see the pediatrician if any of these symptoms occur.

Other reasons to visit the pediatrician are if the baby is exhibiting persistent crying, inconsolability, poor weight gain, blood in the stool, or a fever.

Splenic flexure syndrome describes a digestive disorder characterized by gas becoming trapped inside of flexures located inside the colon. While gas symptoms are normal in humans, this particular digestive disorder produces excessive gas and other symptoms considered to be abnormal. Such causes a great deal of discomfort and irritation to individuals afflicted with this condition. Splenic flexure syndrome is at times classified as a subtype of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and, in some, the symptoms that characterize splenic flexure syndrome is actually caused by IBS.

The splenic flexure is an area of the large intestine located right next to the spleen. When this digestive disorder flares up, a person experiences pain in the upper left side of the abdomen. Due to the close proximity of the splenic flexure to the heart, the painful symptoms of splenic flexure syndrome may cause some to believe that a heart attack is occurring.

Symptoms of splenic flexure syndrome include bloating, colon spasms and uncomfortable gas pains from air being trapped in the colon’s flexure. Air finds its way and becomes trapped in the splenic flexure due to swallowing air while talking, eating or drinking, or by consuming foods that do not digest well. When food is not digested or is not properly absorbed, it travels to the large intestine and is broken down by bacteria that are naturally present there. During this process, gas is created.

Abdominal bloating is the most commonly occurring symptom of splenic flexure syndrome. While an excessive amount of fatty foods can cause temporary abdominal bloating, individuals with gastroenterology problems experience it more often due to increased movement and abnormal contractions, which occur in the intestinal muscles as the result of a digestive disorder. Normally, bloating is relieved by a bowel movement or by passing gas through the rectum or through the mouth. In cases of splenic flexure syndrome, however, gas does not pass as easily, which causes varying levels of pain and discomfort in individual sufferers.

In order to reduce gas associated with splenic flexure syndrome, health experts recommend avoiding foods naturally known to cause excessive amounts of gas. A few of these foods are Brussels sprouts, beans, broccoli, cabbage, dairy products, prunes, apples, corn, peas, processed breads and cereals, and potatoes. Certain medications commonly used to treat IBS may also be prescribed for relief from gas that accompanies this syndrome.

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Discussion Comments

I have had IBS since my teens. But the SFS, Splenic Flexure Syndrome, is about five years old. My only relief is lying on my back, propped up on pillows, and totally relaxing. Sooner or later I feel the gas start moving through my GI tract, and it usually evacuates at some point. Mine has hurt so bad that I, too, have made ER visits with fear of heart problems.

When mine is really bloated bad, I feel like it is hard to breathe, and I can feel my heart beating more than usual. But when the gas finally passes, so do the other symptoms. I keep having thoughts that I have colon cancer, or some other serious problem, although I have had numerous colonoscopies, fecal occult blood tests, and barium enemas, which were all negative. I wish you all luck in dealing with your pain, because I know how painful it can be. anon989256 February 26, 2015

I just found out about this now, after suffering from IBS symptoms for four years, and feeling weird palpitations and chest pains for almost a year. This pain has caused me severe stress, and I had a few panic attacks, due to the fact that I thought I was having a heart attack. The doctors told me it’s probably psychological, and wanted to give me psychiatric pills. So far I resisted.

Now – after reading about these syndromes, I’m amazed – it’s a bull’s-eye! All the syndromes – even the psychological profile of the patients – they all fit! I have great hopes that this is probably what I was suffering from. I will start treatment against gasses right away. anon336972 June 2, 2013

Is there any help for someone having this problem due to chronic sinus drainage? anon288883 September 1, 2012

I have been dealing with this problem since 2002. I had my spleen removed in 2005 because doctors thought that was the problem. I’ve had numerous colonoscopies and other scopes. I went online myself again in March of this year and read about Splenic Flexure Syndrome. I have all the symptoms. It is extremely painful. I went to my doctor and told her what I have. She put me on Bentyl. It has helped tremendously. I still have days where the spasms are bad but all in all, they are not as often. I just have to avoid certain foods. bear78 May 15, 2011

I read that 70% of the gas found in our intestines is due to swallowing air. Food is responsible only for the remainder.

I’m sure that not eating certain foods that cause gas would help people who have this syndrome. But since most of that gas is actually swallowed, is there a way to prevent these patients from swallowing so much air?

Maybe helping them be more cautious about how they eat and drink and not allowing smoking and chewing gum might help. candyquilt May 13, 2011

We have a close family friend who is a doctor and originally from South America. He told me that back home, he has personally met and treated many patients with splenic flexure syndrome who were previously diagnosed with heart disease.

They did fluoroscopic testing on the patients and found out the real problem. It’s so amazing how doctors were able to misdiagnose so many patients because of the familiar symptoms of heart disease. And all that time, those patients followed special diets and worried about a heart attack!

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

Robert Burakoff, MD, MPH, is board-certified in gastroentrology. He is the vice chair for ambulatory services for the department of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.

Many people who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) also find that they have symptoms of abdominal bloating or distention.   One cause of this uncomfortable problem may be gas in the digestive tract.

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

Bloating and gas can be painful, embarrassing, and might limit your wardrobe choices to pants and skirts with elastic waistbands. Fortunately, there are several ways to deal with a bloated stomach.


Bloating in the abdomen is commonly caused by gas in the intestines. One reason for too much gas is from eating foods that create gas.

Air Swallowing

Swallowing air while eating is often done unconsciously and may result in frequent belching during or after meals. To avoid swallowing air, slow down when eating, don’t slurp drinks, and don’t talk while chewing. Also try to avoid chewing gum, eating hard candy, drinking carbonated beverages, and drinking liquids through straws.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a common condition that may also contribute to abdominal bloating.   Many people are unable to digest lactose, which is the sugar that is found in cow’s milk. This condition is more common in adults, but some children (especially those over the age of 2) may also be found to be lactose intolerant.

Interestingly, lactose intolerance is different than a true milk allergy.   Avoiding cow’s milk and foods made with milk, such as ice cream or cheese, can help avoid the problem. But, this is not always practical or desirable. Today, several products are available that are lactose-free or can help lactose-intolerant people digest the lactose that is found in milk products.

Uncommon Causes

If the abdomen is tender to the touch or hard, contact your physician to make sure that there is not some other underlying cause for the bloating. Although uncommon, bloating can also be caused by more serious conditions.   Persistent, progressive, or severe bloating (especially when accompanied by other symptoms and an increase in abdominal girth) should be checked out by a doctor right away.


The ultimate goal is to prevent bloating from occurring in the first place. But once the problem is already present, there are a few ways to treat it, including over-the-counter (OTC) products:

  • Heat: A heating pad placed on the abdomen (don’t use it for too long or fall asleep with it on) or a hot bath may ease abdominal discomfort.
  • Beano: Taking the supplement Beano when eating beans or legumes may help reduce the gas that is caused while digesting those foods.
  • Exercise: To expel troublesome intestinal gas, try taking a brisk walk or getting some other form of exercise that gets the body moving. Frequent exercise can help keep the intestines working more efficiently and aids with digestion.
  • Positioning: If exercise fails, try laying quietly on your left side on a bed, couch, or floor and bring your knees up to your chest. This position, or a few other movements such as squatting, can sometimes help release trapped gas.
  • OTC anti-gas remedies: These often contain polyethylene glycol or simethicone. Check with a doctor before trying one—while they may be effective, make sure to read all the ingredients. Some brands contain sorbitol, a food additive that can irritate the digestive tract and cause diarrhea, cramps, and pain.


The best way to prevent gas that is caused by foods is—predictably—to avoid those foods that contribute to intestinal gas.   Many people have an idea of what foods might cause gas (like beans) but might not know about some very common foods that can also contribute to gas.

Avoiding one or two foods because they cause gas, bloating, and pain shouldn’t be too much of a problem. But, any drastic change in diet should only be done after consulting a physician and a dietitian if possible. Every person is affected by foods differently, but some foods that commonly cause gas are:

Person working full day at $15-an-hour minimum wage couldn’t earn enough to pay gas tank fill, writes Mike Farwell

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

Well, I finally did it.

I waited as long as I possibly could, right up until the time my car told me I had a range of five kilometres before running out of gas.

And then I swallowed hard and paid 229.9 cents per litre of diesel fuel.

It cost me just under $124 to fill my tank.

To put it another way, a person working for a $15 an hour minimum wage would not be able to fill that gas tank with the earnings from an eight-hour day.

No matter which way you look at it, it hurts. That’s a lot of money and it’s a price we’ll have to pay again and again.

If we want to keep driving, that is.

Admittedly, owning and driving a vehicle is, in itself, a luxury. But even as we try to encourage other, more sustainable modes of transportation, are those options realistic for most of us?

The cost of a monthly bus pass with Grand River Transit is $90, which means we could ride a bus or a train for a full month for less money than it costs for one tank of gas.

It’s a pretty attractive option until you consider the limitations of the transit system. The buses and trains run at fixed times and on fixed routes, meaning you may need to take one or more to get to your destination. You also have to hope that the bus or the train can get you to your destination on time.

This is not a criticism of Grand River Transit. It’s merely an acknowledgement of the limitations of most transit systems in Canada. The systems simply do not offer service that is fast or frequent enough.

This fact makes it all the more puzzling that the Ontario Liberals have pledged a “buck-a-ride” program for transit, promising to slash fares for all transit systems to $1 per ride and $40 for monthly passes.

Even if the gimmick were to succeed in increasing ridership on public transit, the outcome would simply be more people on the same number of trains and buses. If we want to pour more money into public transit, the dollars should be invested in creating faster, more frequent service.

Of course, all this talk about public transit as a possible option to relieve our pain at the pumps is spoken through the lens of a city dweller. Rural communities have limited or no access to public transit, and people who live in rural areas tend to have longer commutes to work.

Back to the drawing board.

The reality is that no matter how noble our efforts to transition away from gasoline-powered automobiles, we’re a long way from the finish line. And that means the currently outrageous price at the pumps is just one more way that life is getting less affordable for the average working class.

We’ve gone from “buck-a-beer” to “buck-a-ride” in successive provincial election campaigns. Maybe the next promise we’ll hear is “buck-a-litre.”

To educate about voice, swallowing, airway, coughing, and other head and neck disorders


Inability to burp or belch occurs when the upper esophageal sphincter (cricopharyngeus muscle) cannot relax in order to release the “bubble” of air. The sphincter is a muscular valve that encircles the upper end of the esophagus just below the lower end of the throat passage. If looking from the front at a person’s neck, it is just below the “Adam’s / Eve’s apple,” directly behind the cricoid cartilage.

If you care to see this on a model, look at the photos below. That sphincter muscle relaxes for about a second every time we swallow saliva, food, or drink. All of the rest of the time it is contracted. Whenever a person belches, the same sphincter needs to let go for a split second in order for the excess air to escape upwards. In other words, just as it is necessary that the sphincter “let go” to admit food and drink downwards in the normal act swallowing, it is also necessary that the sphincter be able to “let go” to release air upwards for belching. The formal name for this disorder is retrograde cricopharyngeus dysfunction (R-CPD).

People who cannot release air upwards are miserable. They can feel the “bubble” sitting at the mid to low neck with nowhere to go. Or they experience gurgling when air comes up the esophagus only to find that the way of escape is blocked by a non-relaxing sphincter. It is as though the muscle of the esophagus continually churns and squeezes without success.

The person so wants and needs to burp, but continues to experience this inability to burp. Sometimes this can even be painful. Such people often experience chest pressure or abdominal bloating, and even abdominal distention. Flatulence is also severe in most persons with R-CPD. Other less universal symptoms are nausea after eating, painful hiccups, hypersalivation, or a feeling of difficulty breathing with exertion when “full of air.” Many persons with R-CPD have undergone extensive testing and treatment trials without benefit. R-CPD reduces quality of life, and is often socially disruptive and anxiety-provoking. Common (incorrect) diagnoses are “acid reflux” and “irritable bowel syndrome,” and therefore treatments for these conditions do not relieve symptoms significantly.

Approaches for treating the inability to burp:

For people who match the syndrome of:
1) Inability to belch
2) Gurgling noises
3) Chest/abdominal pressure and bloating
4) Flatulence

Here is the most efficient way forward: First, a consultation to determine whether or not the criteria for diagnosing R-CPD are met. Next, a simple office-based videoendoscopic swallow study which incorporates a neurological examination of tongue, pharynx (throat) and larynx muscles and often includes a mini-esophagoscopy. This establishes that the sphincter works normally in a forward (antegrade) swallowing direction, but not in a reverse (retrograde) burping or regurgitating fashion. Along with the symptoms described above, this straightforward office consultation and swallowing evaluation establishes the diagnosis of retrograde cricopharyngeus dysfunction (non-relaxation).

The second step is to place Botox into the malfunctioning sphincter muscle. The desired effect of Botox in muscle is to weaken it for at least several months. The person thus has many weeks to verify that the problem is solved or at least minimized.

The Botox injection could potentially be done in an office setting, but we recommend the first time (at least) placing it during a very brief general anesthetic in an outpatient operating room. That’s because the first time, it is important to answer the question definitively, that is, that the sphincter’s inability to relax when presented with a bubble of air from below, is the problem. Furthermore, based upon an experience with more than 890 patients as of August 2019, a single injection appears to “train” the patient how to burp. Approximately 80% of patients have maintained the ability to burp long after the effect of the Botox has dissipated. That is, long past 6 months from the time of injection.

Patients treated for R-CPD as just described should experience dramatic relief of their symptoms. And to repeat, our experience in treating more than 890 patients (and counting) suggests that this single Botox injection allows the system to “reset” and the person may never lose his or her ability to burp. Of course, if the problem returns, the individual could elect to pursue additional Botox treatments, or might even elect to undergo endoscopic laser cricopharyngeus myotomy. To learn more about this condition, see Dr. Bastian’s description of his experience with the first 51 of his much larger caseload.

, MD, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

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How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

Foreign bodies may be accidentally or intentionally swallowed.

Foreign bodies may cause no symptoms or may cause symptoms depending on where they become stuck.

The diagnosis may be based on a combination of x-rays, endoscopy, or sometimes computed tomography.

Most foreign bodies pass without treatment, but some need to be removed endoscopically, surgically, or manually.

Foreign bodies can get stuck in various parts of the digestive tract such as the

Foreign bodies may be accidentally swallowed. Children may swallow small, round foods (such as grapes, peanuts, or candies), which may become stuck. In addition, curious infants and toddlers often accidentally swallow a wide variety of inedible objects (such as coins and disk or button batteries), some of which become stuck in the esophagus. People who wear dentures, older people, and intoxicated adults are at risk of accidentally swallowing inadequately chewed food (particularly meat such as steak or hot dogs), which may become stuck in the esophagus.

Sometimes foreign bodies are swallowed purposely, as when smugglers (body packers Body Packing and Body Stuffing To smuggle drugs across borders or other security checkpoints, people may voluntarily swallow packets filled with drugs or hide those packets in body cavities. If a packet tears, a drug overdose. read more ) or body stuffers swallow balloons, packages, or vials filled with illegal drugs to evade detection. People who have mental health disorders may also purposely and repeatedly swallow foreign bodies.

If undigestible objects are small, they pass through the digestive system until they are passed with stool. However, larger objects or sharp ones, such as toothpicks and chicken or fish bones, may get stuck in the esophagus or stomach or at areas of the intestine that have sharp turns or are naturally narrow or narrowed by disease, a previous surgery, tumors, or abnormal structures. Objects that pass all the way through the intestines may still become stuck in the rectum.

Symptoms of Foreign Bodies in the Digestive Tract

Foreign bodies cause symptoms depending on the nature of the foreign body and where it becomes stuck.

Foreign bodies in the esophagus

A small blunt object that is swallowed may cause the sensation of something being stuck in the esophagus and difficulty swallowing Difficulty Swallowing Some people have difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). In dysphagia, foods and/or liquids do not move normally from the throat (pharynx) to the stomach. People feel as though food or liquids become. read more (dysphagia). This feeling may persist for a short time even after the object has passed into the stomach. A small sharp object that is swallowed may become lodged in the esophagus and cause pain, even though the person is able to swallow normally. When the esophagus is completely blocked, the person is unable to swallow anything, even saliva, and drools and spits constantly. The saliva may be stained with blood, and the person may gag and choke. The person may try to vomit, but nothing comes up.

Foreign bodies in the stomach and intestines

Foreign bodies in the rectum

Complications of foreign bodies in the digestive tract

If a sharp object pierces the esophagus, consequences may be serious. Food and other esophageal contents can leak into the chest cavity (mediastinum) and cause life-threatening inflammation (mediastinitis Mediastinitis Mediastinitis is inflammation of the mediastinum (the chest cavity, which contains the heart, the thymus gland, some lymph nodes, and parts of the esophagus, aorta, thyroid, and parathyroid. read more ). People who have swallowed button batteries, which can eat away at the lining of the esophagus, may have burns of the esophagus.

Sometimes foreign bodies lead to blood in the stool.

If a person has swallowed an object filled with drugs, the object may rupture, which can then lead to an overdose of the drug.

Diagnosis of Foreign Bodies in the Digestive Tract

Imaging tests (typically x-rays)

Often, a foreign body can be seen on x-rays of the abdomen and sometimes of the chest. Sometimes other imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT), may be done to help identify and locate the foreign body.

Usually, endoscopy Endoscopy Endoscopy is an examination of internal structures using a flexible viewing tube (endoscope). Endoscopy can also be used to treat many disorders because doctors are able to pass instruments. read more (a visual examination of the digestive tract using a flexible tube called an endoscope) is done to determine the nature and exact location of the foreign body and to rule out an area narrowed by a tumor or other disorder.

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

This x-ray shows a coin that was swallowed by a young child.


How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

This image shows a drug packet in the stomach.

Image provided by Alan Gingold, DO.

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

This image shows a sharp foreign body in the stomach.

Image provided by Uday Shankar, MD.

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

This image shows drug packets in the stomach.

There are two main classes of bleach poisoning symptoms: those related to inhalation and those related to ingestion. People who have inhaled excessive amounts of the substance, which is known chemically as sodium hypochlorite, often experience respiratory problems, skin rashes, and problems with watery eyes or blurred vision. Someone who has swallowed it, on the other hand, is likely to become violently sick, lose the ability to speak or think clearly, and feel a burning sensation in the throat and stomach. Both forms of bleach poisoning are very serious and could be life threatening. People who think that they or others may be suffering from this condition should seek prompt medical attention.

Respiratory Problems

One of the most common symptoms of bleach inhalation is breathing difficulty, including coughing and wheezing. People may also experience a shortness of breath, an extremely sore throat, and pressure or tightness in the chest. When bleach particles are inhaled, they travel directly to the lungs and cause the delicate tissues there to grow inflamed almost immediately. Sometimes breathing difficulties are short-lived, but in many other cases the damage can be lasting — and can get worse if left untreated.

Skin Rashes and Eye Trouble

Fumes can also penetrate the delicate mucus surrounding the eyes, which can cause both excessive wateriness and dryness, depending on the person and the extent of the exposure. Skin rashes might also develop. If the bleach came into contact with the skin, as is common on the hands when the chemical has been used for cleaning, breakouts can happen in these areas; red splotches or hives can also develop across the face, chest, or anywhere else where skin is particularly sensitive. When the body is fighting inhaled toxins, many of the most delicate areas can become irritated.

Nausea and Vomiting

Someone who has inhaled fumes might also experience nausea, though this symptom is far more common when the substance has been swallowed. Nausea and vomiting are some of the body’s most basic ways of flushing out toxins, and they are some of the initial symptoms of poisoning, too. Sufferers may also feel dizzy, get the shakes, or switch from feeling overly hot to very cold within a matter of minutes.

Cognitive Difficulty

Once the bleach has begun to absorb into a person’s bloodstream, he or she may also begin to display certain difficulties thinking, processing, or expressing information. Slurred speech is a common symptom, as is nonsensical statements and a general sense of confusion. These are usually a sign of serious reaction, and can lead to brain shutdown or coma if left untreated.

Organ and Tissue Damage

People who swallow large amounts of bleach almost always suffer internal damage and scarring, though the symptoms of these conditions can be harder to detect. Abdominal pain, intense cramps, and a sensation of burning or heat can all be indications of organ damage. With prolonged contact the throat and stomach lining can be eaten away, and the esophagus and lungs can become scarred from the burns. The respiratory tract, as well as the intestinal tract, can be damaged to the point of becoming life threatening.

What to Do

Anyone who suspects that they or someone else has been poisoned by bleach should seek prompt medical care, either by visiting an emergency room, calling a community clinic, or getting in touch with local poison control authorities. It can be tempting to induce vomiting, but this isn’t usually a good idea. Bleach that is already in the stomach can actually cause more burning and damage by traveling back up the esophagus and throat. Most experts recommend drinking a lot of water and getting help right away.

Flushing the eyes with water and moving into a well-ventilated area can also help in cases of inhalation. Anyone wearing contact lenses should remove them, as they can actually trap the chemical against the eyeball. A hot, soapy shower may also be of use if the bleach actually made contact with a person’s skin, and breathing the warm steam can be helpful in any event.

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Discussion Comments

I think when I was rinsing off my hair dye that I might have swallowed some of the water, as later on that day I felt really unwell. My eyes were blurry and when I bent down I was staggering and my walking was like I was on a boat. browncoat October 1, 2013

@bythewell – Honestly, I think the greatest danger is to kids. Even child-safe bottles aren’t that difficult to figure out for a curious child and they will put almost anything in their mouths.

I make sure I keep all my dangerous liquids in a locked cabinet and I’m paranoid about replacing them after I finish.

But I’ve also made sure to learn poisoning symptoms just in case, for children and for animals. I’ll never forget the time, when I was a child, that our dog ate something in the garage and died from it. We were never sure exactly what it was, but I’m determined never to make that mistake twice. bythewell September 30, 2013

@irontoenail – I think people who regularly put bleach into their pool should probably take your advice to heart. It’s easy to think that chlorine bleach isn’t poisoning you when you use it, because it’s relatively harmless after it is diluted. But people can hurt themselves in the process of diluting it, if they aren’t careful, and that’s particularly true when there are children around who might not understand the danger. irontoenail September 30, 2013

Even reading about this makes me nervous about using bleach. I have to say that I think people who might otherwise be very cautious about poisonous substances often make the mistake of forgetting about airborne danger.

Even if you have got gloves on and are making absolutely sure that the bleach can’t touch your skin, you can still hurt yourself if you breathe it in. If you’re washing with it, or even using it to color your hair or something like that, it’s probably worth sticking a mask over your face as well. You can get them very cheaply in supermarkets, or you can just use a scarf.

Anyone who works with dust or vapor can tell you, it’s impossible to avoid once it gets into the air, and bleach can splash around or just evaporate the same way water can. You might not even recognize the signs of poisoning if it happens over time.

How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

Swallowing problems are more common in seniors

Some older adults have trouble swallowing food or liquids.

This serious condition is called dysphagia and could cause malnutrition, dehydration, or aspiration pneumonia.

For caregivers, it’s scary to watch someone who’s having trouble swallowing and not be able to help.

We explain what dysphagia is, why it’s so serious, common signs of dysphagia, and what causes it.

What is dysphagia?

Dysphagia means difficulty swallowing and is pronounced dis-fay-gee-ah (hear the word here).

It can happen at any age, but is more common in older adults, especially those with acid reflux.

It’s estimated that 15% of seniors and up to 68% of nursing home residents are affected by dysphagia.

Why you should be concerned about swallowing problems

Dysphagia is important to be aware of because it can cause serious health problems for seniors, including:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Not taking medication properly
  • Aspiration pneumonia – a lung infection caused by food or liquid particles in the lungs and leading cause of hospitalization and death in nursing home residents

Signs and symptoms of dysphagia

Having trouble swallowing once in a while, usually because of eating too fast or not chewing well, isn’t the same as showing signs of dysphagia.

But if you’re noticing frequent signs of dysphagia, it’s essential to have your older adult visit their doctor for an examination as soon as possible.

Signs of dysphagia include:

  • Coughing while eating or drinking
  • Choking on food, liquids, or medication
  • A gurgly sounding voice, especially after eating or drinking
  • Difficulty swallowing food or drinks
  • Drooling

If you aren’t able to eat meals with your older adult, here are some questions you can ask to find out if they’re having a swallowing problem:

  • Do you often cough or choke after eating or drinking?
  • Does it sometimes feel like food is going down the “wrong way”?
  • Do you often feel like food is stuck in your throat?
  • How long does it take you to eat a meal?
  • Is eating sometimes less enjoyable than it previously was?
  • Have you lost weight recently (without trying)?

What causes dysphagia?

Any problem in the swallowing process can cause trouble.

There are many potential causes for dysphagia, which is why it’s so important to get checked out by a doctor.

Common causes include:

  • Teeth in bad condition or poorly fitting dentures
  • Normal aging (weakening of mouth/throat muscles)
  • Acid reflux (GERD)
  • Stroke
  • Cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s or dementia
  • Cancer of the mouth, throat, or esophagus
  • Certain medications


What is eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)?

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic disease of the esophagus. Your esophagus is the muscular tube that carries food and liquids from your mouth to the stomach. If you have EoE, white blood cells called eosinophils build up in your esophagus. This causes damage and inflammation, which can cause pain and may lead to trouble swallowing and food getting stuck in your throat.

EoE is rare. But because it is a newly recognized disease, more people are now getting diagnosed with it. Some people who think that they have reflux (GERD) may actually have EoE.

What causes eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)?

Researchers are not certain about the exact cause of EoE. They think that it is an immune system/allergic reaction to foods or to substances in your environment, such as dust mites, animal dander, pollen, and molds. Certain genes may also play a role in EoE.

Who is at risk for eosinophilic esophagitis(EoE)?

EoE can affect anyone, but it is more common in people who:

  • Are male
  • Are white
  • Have other allergic diseases, such as hay fever, eczema, asthma and food allergies
  • Have family members with EoE

What are the symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)?

The most common symptoms of EoE can depend on your age.

In infants and toddlers::

  • Feeding problems
  • Vomiting
  • Poor weight gain and growth
  • Reflux that does not get better with medicines

In older children::

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Trouble swallowing, especially with solid foods
  • Reflux that does not get better with medicines
  • Poor appetite

In adults::

  • Trouble swallowing, especially with solid foods
  • Food getting stuck in the esophagus
  • Reflux that does not get better with medicines
  • Heartburn
  • Chest pain

How is eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) diagnosed?

To diagnose EoE, your doctor will:

  • Ask about your symptoms and medical history. Since other conditions can have the same symptoms of EoE, it is important for your doctor to take a thorough history.
  • Do an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. An endoscope is a long, flexible tube with a light and camera at the end of it. Your doctor will run the endoscope down your esophagus and look at it. Some signs that you might have EoE include white spots, rings, narrowing, and inflammation in the esophagus. However, not everyone with EoE has those signs, and sometimes they can be signs of a different esophagus disorder.
  • Do a biopsy. During the endoscopy, the doctor will take small tissue samples from your esophagus. The samples will be checked for a high number of eosinophils. This is the only way to make a diagnosis of EoE.
  • Do other tests as needed. You may have blood tests to check for other conditions. If you do have EoE, you may have blood or other types of tests to check for specific allergies.

What are the treatments for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)?

There is no cure for EoE. Treatments can manage your symptoms and prevent further damage. The two main types of treatments are medicines and diet.

Medicines used to treat EoE are:

  • Steroids, which can help control inflammation. These are usually topical steroids, which you swallow either from an inhaler or as a liquid. Sometimes doctors prescribe oral steroids (pills) to treat people who have serious swallowing problems or weight loss.
  • Acid suppressors such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which may help with reflux symptoms and decrease inflammation.

Dietary changes for EoE include:

  • Elimination diet. If you are on an elimination diet, you stop eating and drinking certain foods and beverages for several weeks. If you are feeling better, you add the foods back to your diet one at a time. You have repeat endoscopies to see whether or not you are tolerating those foods. There are different types of elimination diets:
    • With one type, you first have an allergy test. Then you stop eating and drinking the foods you are allergic to.
    • For another type, you eliminate foods and drinks that commonly cause allergies, such as dairy products, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and fish/shellfish.
  • Elemental diet. With this diet, you stop eating and drinking all proteins. Instead, you drink an amino acid formula. Some people who do not like the taste of the formula use a feeding tube instead. If your symptoms and inflammation go away completely, you may be able to try adding foods back one at a time, to see whether you can tolerate them.

Which treatment your health care provider suggests depends on different factors, including your age. Some people may use more than one kind of treatment. Researchers are still trying to understand EoE and how best to treat it.

If your treatment is not working well enough and you have narrowing of the esophagus, you may need dilation. This is a procedure to stretch the esophagus. This makes it easier for you to swallow.

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  • 10+ Remedies to Get Rid of Stomach Gas

Stomach gas buildup can be extremely discomforting and, sometimes, embarrassing. Don’t worry! Remedies like honey, ginger and others can provide instant relief.

Having stomach gas is normal and healthy, as it is a byproduct of the human digestive system. On average, a person can pass anywhere from a pint to 2 quarts of gas per day. Most gas, trapped in the body, is expelled via burping. The rest is absorbed by the small intestine and released through the rectum. Various problems occur when gas is not expelled properly from the body. This can result in bloating of the abdomen, nausea, abdominal pain and an acidic taste in the mouth. All these symptoms can be extremely discomforting and will need some relief. To rid yourself of stomach gas problems, the underlying cause should be understood, and appropriate medications and remedies should be used.

Causes of Stomach Gas

There are two main causes for stomach gas. These are swallowed air and gas produced as a by-product of food digestion. Air is swallowed when talking, eating and drinking. Excessive intake of air into the body can cause stomach gas. The most common reasons for excessive gas are drinking through straws, eating too fast, smoking, chewing gum, etc. Foods consumed enter the small intestines for digestion. However, fibers and carbohydrates bypass the small intestine and move onto the large intestine for digestion. Gas that results in flatulence occurs when sugar and fiber do not get digested in the large intestine. Therefore, people suffering from constant flatulence or stomach gas should avoid the excessive intake of foods rich in carbohydrates, lactose, sucrose and sorbitol.

How to Get Rid of Stomach Gas

Although stomach gas is not life-threatening, it can be extremely embarrassing. Therefore, persons suffering with excessive gas in the stomach can rely on below measures to rid excessive gas buildup.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

You can always rely on apple cider vinegar (ACV) to treat indigestion and stomach gas. There are many enzymes in ACV responsible for alkalizing your body and promoting better digestion.

Take a glass of warm water and add 2 tsp. of ACV to it. Mix well and leave it for a few minutes to cool to room temperature. Then, drink twice a day. You can use this remedy even when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

2. Ginger

How to help someone who has swallowed gasolineOne of the best remedies to deal with stomach gas is to use some ginger. It has antiemetic properties, so it reduces nausea and works amazingly well to help expel intestinal gas. Some studies have also found that ginger may trigger the process of gastric emptying. It also helps soothe the intestinal tract.

Take equal amounts of ground ginger, cardamom, and fennel. Mix well and add a teaspoon of this mixture along with some asafetida to a cup of water. Have it twice a day to relieve indigestion. You can also drink ginger tea or simply chew on raw ginger pieces for relief.

3. Baking Soda and Lemon

How to help someone who has swallowed gasolineAlso called sodium bicarbonate, baking soda acts as an antacid and helps expel stomach gas. Combine it with lemon juice to make it even more effective.

Take one-half lemon and extract its juice. Add it to a glass of warm water and then add a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate to it. Mix well and drink for instant relief. Simply add a teaspoon of baking soda to less than a glass of water and drinking it may also offer some relief.

4. Cinnamon

How to help someone who has swallowed gasolineYou can opt for cinnamon to help treat indigestion and soothe your stomach. Its intake can prevent the buildup of gas mainly because it reduces the secretion of pepsin and gastric acid in the stomach.

Take a cup of warm milk and add half teaspoon of cinnamon powder to it. Mix well and drink. It is okay to add some honey to the mix to improve its taste.

5. Fennel

How to help someone who has swallowed gasolineFor fast relief from indigestion and gas, you can also opt for fennel. With its carminative properties, it makes it easier to expel gas from your system.

Take a cup of hot water and pour it over a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds. Cover it with something and leave for about 5 minutes. Then, strain it and drink the mixture once a day. It is also a good idea to drink the mixture after a heavy meal to avoid indigestion in the first place. Simply chewing on fennel seeds or leaves may also help prevent indigestion.

6. Change the Diet

Avoiding foods that cause bloating and gas is the first method of obtaining relief from this problem. Common foods that cause gas buildup are broccoli, asparagus and onions, pears and peaches, beans and whole grains and carbonated beverages and dairy products.

7. Other Remedies

  • Stop smoking, chewing gum and drinking through straws. All these factors increase air intake. Stopping these habits can help relieve gas in the stomach.
  • Consider taking over-the-counter gassy remedies. There are many OTC products that help reduce the buildup of gas in the stomach. Any one of these can provide relief from gas. For example, Beano, a digestive aid, contains enzyme that helps with sugar digestion in foods.
  • Consume food and drink slowly. Eating and drinking too fast can result in the swallowing of excessive air. Less air is swallowed when eating and drinking slowly.
  • Drink plenty of water before a meal. This method ensures proper digestion and relief from gassy symptoms. Water should be consumed at least, half an hour before a meal.
  • Diagnose the underlying cause. Sometimes, a medical condition may be causing the buildup of gas in the stomach. For example, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer and gastrointestinal disorders can cause gas. Treating these conditions can help relieve gas in the stomach.

When to See a Doctor

Gas accompanied with abdominal pain, bloating and other symptoms can be due to an underlying condition that requires medical treatment. Therefore, persistent discomfort related to gas requires medical attention.

Written By Lori Welstead, MS, RD, LDN, and Courtney Schuchmann, MS, RD, LDN

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Move over, soda and beer. Hard seltzers and carbonated water drinks — including sparkling, seltzer, fizzy and mineral waters — are all the rage right now. It’s a multibillion-dollar industry. But are these beverages good for you?

Is sparkling water healthy? Is hard seltzer healthy?

Carbonated water is a healthier alternative to soda, juice or sports drinks like Gatorade. Hard seltzers tend to have fewer calories than beer. But not all carbonated water drinks are created equal. Some contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners, which can add calories, harm teeth and trigger some health conditions.

Can sparkling water help you lose weight?

Yes. For people watching their weight, hydration is key. Sparkling water provides true hydration, and it’s a much better option than drinking regular soda or even diet soda, which doesn’t provide adequate hydration. If a person’s not hydrated, they may always feel hungry because the body can’t tell the difference between hunger and thirst. But people who are watching their weight should be careful which type of carbonated water they drink. Tonic water, for example, has about 15 grams of sugar in a serving — that’s about a third as much as a regular soda. So drinking a lot of tonic water is not the best option. Instead, drink club soda or sparkling water with no added sugar.

Can carbonated water trigger the “hunger hormone” ghrelin?

Probably not. There was a small animal study that found consuming only carbonated water caused an increase in ghrelin. More studies need to be performed. In some studies, carbonated water improved satiety, or the feeling of fullness. That could be a benefit for people who constantly feel hungry. Carbonated water improves digestion and helps constipation, so that empties the stomach and could possibly make someone feel hungry.

Is sparkling water a good alternative for people trying to kick a soda habit?

Absolutely. Club soda or sparkling water will hydrate people better than regular soda, as long as the drink doesn’t have added sugar.

What should people look for on carbonated water labels? Is artificially flavored sparkling water bad for you?

Make sure it’s zero calories and zero sugar. Avoid drinks with high fructose corn syrup and regular sugar. With flavored carbonated waters, artificial flavoring is OK, but it is recommended to limit excessive artificial sweeteners, like aspartame or Splenda. Again, these may be superior to regular soda, but more studies need to be done on these sweeteners. People should also be mindful of sodium. If each can of carbonated water has 100 or 200 milligrams of sodium, that can add up. Some carbonated waters are made with carbonic acid to create the carbonation, but that shouldn’t have a detrimental effect. Even if carbonated water is a little bit acidic, it shouldn’t have an effect on the dental enamel.

Does drinking sparkling water cause gas and bloating?

Some patients find carbonated water improves their digestion and reduces indigestion. For some people, though, excessive intake can induce gas and bloating, making them uncomfortable. Patients with acid reflux, gastroesophgeal reflux disease (GERD), or gas who are drinking mostly carbonated water should switch to non-carbonated beverages, like plain water. More studies are needed on the impact on people with acid reflux, GERD and heartburn, because sugar can really impact GERD. Using straws to drink carbonated water can increase gas and bloating.

Can carbonated water help people who have trouble swallowing?

Some small studies showed carbonated water helped people clear their throat and swallow better. Three million Americans have dysphagia or trouble swallowing. This could be beneficial for some of those patients, but consult your doctor first.

Can sparkling water cause bone density loss?

Sparkling water has no negative effect on bone health. The only drinks that cause bone loss are dark colas, which have phosphoric acid that leads to losing calcium in your bones. Sparkling mineral water has calcium in it, which can improve bone health. And the carbonated mineral waters with magnesium and calcium may have bone-boosting benefits.

Can you make carbonated water yourself?

Yes. There are machines people can buy that add carbonation to water. As long as people don’t add sugar, it’s fine.

Is hard seltzer bad for you?

Hard seltzers contain alcohol and should be consumed in moderation, which is one drink per day for women and one to two drinks per day for men. Consuming larger volumes of alcohol can have adverse health consequences. However, if you choose to drink alcohol in moderation, hard seltzers can be a good way to reduce your overall calorie intake compared to other alcoholic beverage options.

Are hard seltzers better for you than beer?

Hard seltzers can be lower in calories and carbohydrates than most beer. There are some light and low-carb beers that may have the same or fewer calories and carbohydrates than some brands of hard seltzer. The number of calories is affected by the percentage of alcohol in the seltzer, but most standard hard seltzers and light beers have a similar percentage of alcohol. Thus, a hard seltzer that is lower in calories and carbs than a beer is better.

Are hard seltzers hydrating?

Alcohol in general acts as a diuretic and therefore can contribute to dehydration. Hard seltzers contain water, so there is some hydrating component at play, but they also contain alcohol, which can cause increased urination, contributing to dehydration. Hard seltzers should not be a primary form of hydration.

How do I choose a healthier hard seltzer?

Choose a hard seltzer that is lower in calories. Most run 90 to 110 calories per beverage. Check the grams of sugar and total carbohydrates. Every brand varies when it comes to carbohydrate content. Choose a lower sugar option, which typically results in a lower calorie product.

Benzene is a clear, liquid, petroleum-based chemical that has a sweet smell. Benzene poisoning occurs when someone swallows, breathes in, or touches benzene. It is a member of a class of compounds known as hydrocarbons. Human exposure to hydrocarbons is a common problem.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Poisonous Ingredient

Benzene can be harmful if it is swallowed, inhaled, or touched.

Where Found

People may be exposed to benzene in factories, refineries, and other industrial settings. Benzene may be found in:

  • Additives to gasoline and diesel fuel
  • Many industrial solvents
  • Various paint, lacquer, and varnish removers

Other products may also contain benzene.


Below are symptoms of benzene poisoning in different parts of the body.


  • Blurred vision
  • Burning sensation in the nose and throat


  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shock and collapse


  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nervousness
  • ConvulsionsВ (seizures)
  • Euphoria (feeling of being drunk)
  • Headache
  • Staggering
  • Tremors
  • Unconsciousness
  • Weakness


Home Care

Seek medical help right away. DO NOT make the person throw up unless poison control or a health care provider tells you to. If benzene is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.

If the person swallowed benzene, give them water or milk right away, unless a provider tells you not to. DO NOT give anything to drink if the person has symptoms that make it hard to swallow. These include vomiting, convulsions, or a decreased level of alertness. If the person breathed in the benzene, move them to fresh air right away.

Before Calling Emergency

Have this information ready:

  • Person’s age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the product (ingredients and strength, if known)
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed

Poison Control

Your local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

The provider will measure and monitor the person’s vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated.

The person may receive:

  • Blood and urine tests.
  • Breathing support, including a tube through the mouth into the lungs, and a breathing machine (ventilator).
  • Chest x-ray.
  • Endoscopy — camera placed down the throat to see burns in the esophagus and the stomach.
  • ECG.
  • Fluids through the vein (by IV).
  • Medicines to treat an allergic reaction and other symptoms.
  • Washing of the skin may need to be done, perhaps every few hours for several days.

The person may be admitted to the hospital if the poisoning is severe.

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well someone does depends on how much benzene they swallowed and how quickly they receive treatment. The faster medical help is given, the better the chance for recovery. Benzene is very poisonous. Poisoning can cause rapid death. However, deaths have occurred as long as 3 days after the poisoning. This happens because:

  • Permanent brain damage occurs
  • The heart stops
  • The lungs stop working

People who have regular exposure to low levels of benzene can also become sick. The most common problems are blood diseases, including:

  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Severe anemia

People who work with benzene products should only do so in areas with good air flow. They should also wear protective gloves and eye glasses.


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) website. Toxicological profile for benzene. Updated September 26, 2019. Accessed October 25, 2019.

Theobald JL, Kostic MA. Poisoning. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 77.

Wang GS, Buchanan JA. Hydrocarbons. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 152.

Gasoline in your mouth is not pleasant – or safe!

This doesn’t happen – not to you!

This doesn’t happen – not to you!

Growing up on a rural farm there were times when we needed gasoline for our non-essential combustion engines (dirt bike or go-cart). Daddy would never notice a gallon missing from his work truck.

Our technique was crude. We’d stealth-fully shove a length of hose into Daddy’s plumbing truck gas tank and coax our youngest brother to suck on the other end of the hose if he wanted to ride to the bottom fields. The thing is, he wised up after his first mouthful of gas.

You have safer options today. Of course, in an extreme emergency, you could use a hose to siphon fuel orally, but it’s not advisable.

I purposely ran the tank of my daily driver below empty this week. A very rare occurrence. I needed to rotate my gasoline storage. The fuel was just over six months old. Though I treat my stored fuel, I don’t trust the ethanol mix to last. Corn gas isn’t good for your vehicle.

If you want real gas, here is a site to help you locate non-ethanol laced fuel near you. It’s more expensive but is so much better.

Siphoning Gas Without Sucking

First, let me say how much I hate Government Approved gas cans! The Usurpers on the Potomac screw up everything they touch. Even a simple gas container.

As of January 10, 2009 all portable fuel containers are required to conform to two new regulations: [3]

  1. They must meet new federal Mobile Source Air Toxic regulations, based on the California Air Resources Board’s regulations. [4]
  2. They must meet the requirements of the Children’s Gasoline Burn Prevention Act. [5] – Source

I suppose the switches, buttons and pouring handles on approved containers are for our safety, right? Well, they suck!

Okay. I’m better now.

To keep from sucking from Government cans, or any gas cans, you need a Shaker Siphon.

Just shake and it works!

Just shake and it works!

You can purchase these online. I found this one at an auto parts store and bought two. They cost about 8 bucks a piece.

For my Forerunner, I have to elevate the gas can above the vehicle’s tank. Holding a 5 or 6 gallon tank of gas while filling your vehicle tank is not practical. I sit my on the top of the Forerunner or on the ledge of my turn signal with my backdoor open.

That’s me suspending a 5 gallon Jerry Can. Not really. It’s resting on my turn signal.

That’s me suspending a 5 gallon Jerry Can. Not really. It’s resting on my turn signal.

The hose is only six feet long. Keep that in mind for your can placement. When on the roof, I have just enough hose length to reach my vehicle gas tank.

A slight tilt allows the valve to suck more fuel from the can.

A slight tilt allows the valve to suck more fuel from the can.

It would much easier to place the can in the back of a pick up truck and just shake the hose. I’m truck-less at the moment.

Warning: If you place the tank on top of your vehicle, make sure you hold the hose in your vehicle’s tank as you shake the siphoning valve in the 5 gallon can. You may not have a decent length in the opening of your car’s tank. Shaking the valve end can pull the filling end out of the tank opening. There’s no shut off valve. The gas will pour all over the side of your vehicle and your shoes until you re-insert the hose into your tank.

Don’t ask me how I know.

This Shaker Siphon will drain a 5 gallon can of gas like it’s nobody’s business. A couple of minutes and you’re ready for the next transfer can.

This device is not limited to fuel transfer. It can be used to transfer water and other liquids. Just be sure to label clearly and keep different hoses separated to prevent cross contamination.

You’ll want to wear gloves (do as I say, not as I did) and have some Gojo on hand to remove any gas that may have spilled on your skin.

Consider adding Gojo to your vehicle kit.

Consider adding Gojo to your vehicle kit.

No water needed. Just rub a dab of Gojo on your hands and wipe off with a towel.

My next gas siphoning project is to build a portable filling pump from a spare electric fuel pump. Just hook it up to your car battery and transfer fuel to another tank.

What’s your best method fuel (liquid) transfer? Share in the comments if you’d like.

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How to help someone who has swallowed gasoline

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A man’s bad temper can cripple—and destroy—his romantic relationship.

Posted February 12, 2014 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma

Key points

  • Women—and many gay men—let their male partners get away with bullying because they are often too afraid to confront or hold them accountable.
  • A grown man who acts out on his bad temper is selfish. If he weren’t, he would get the help he needs.
  • When a person bullies others, their behavior needs to be acknowledged as abusive.

For far too long, men with so-called bad tempers have gotten away with uncontrolled expressions of anger and frustration, and society minimizes this immature, childlike behavior by chalking it up to silly conventions: “Boys will be boys,” or “That’s just how men are.”

Research has shown that a nasty double standard exists when it comes to the expression of anger. In a study, for example, about how men and women are perceived at work, Brescoll and Uhlmann (2008) found that both male and female evaluators assigned lower status to angry female professionals than to their male counterparts. In other words, when men lose it, it’s somehow more acceptable; when women do it, they’re seen as difficult or incompetent.

In my clinical work with adults, I have found that far higher rates of men have a self-described “bad temper,” while few women I’ve worked with display a similar problem with anger. What’s more, I have found that many of the men who have a bad temper unleash the worst of it on their girlfriend or wife, especially if they live together.

Why don’t most men who have bad tempers change? It’s often because the people around them let them get away with it. In other words, there are often no consequences for his temper tantrum. The reasons why women—and many gay men—let their male partners get away with it is because they are often too afraid to confront him or hold him accountable.

I have worked with male clients who struggle with bad tempers, and some of these men also display narcissistic personality traits. Specifically, these men are perpetually more focused on their own feelings and image of self-importance and power than they are focused on how anyone in a relationship with them feels. At root, a grown man who acts out on his bad temper is selfish. If he weren’t, he would get the help he needs (from a therapist, pastor, anyone open to helping) and do the responsible thing: Stop scaring the people closest to him.

Label the problem—it’s abusive!

Perhaps it sounds like a luxury for every woman in America to stand up to a man who bullies. Sadly, many women who are on the receiving end of a husband- or boyfriend-bully are also saddled with the responsibility of working and also caring for children. If these families are financially struggling, too, the women may feel trapped or unable to leave. The good news is that dealing with the problem—getting a man to stop with the outbursts and tantrums—doesn’t have to involve ending the relationship or leaving. Though the relationship could end one day, the first step for women in this situation is to acknowledge that his temper outbursts are abusive. No one wants to admit that to themselves, but it’s the only way for a woman to start healing from the extreme stress she’s been experiencing at home.

Draw a boundary as soon as you see signs that his temper is ready to erupt.

If you can change how you react to a man’s temper outburst, you can actually change the dynamic in the relationship. In relationships with a bad-temper abuser, here’s how the process often unfolds: Man blows up; woman tries to soothe him and make him happier, or she moves away from him physically in the house or apartment as if to hide. If you are on the receiving end of his nasty temper, understand that the man is 100 percent focused on his own feelings—and herein lies the problem. The next time he loses his temper, be clear and tell him how you feel with a neutral facial expression and speaking tone. Say, “You need to take your bad temper and go outside or go somewhere else because your temper makes me feel extremely uncomfortable.” If he refuses to leave, you should step out for a bit if you can. The clincher: When you return, don’t feel pressure to emotionally reunite with him. The greatest mistake couples make in a situation like this is to attempt to reconnect through sex. Instead, detach a bit from him for a day or two.

Don’t swallow your feelings—express them.

If you poll a group of women who live with a man with a bad temper, you’ll often discover that isolation is a major factor. In relationships with someone who doesn’t play by the rules and who can fly off the handle, the woman often isolates herself from friends and family because she is conflicted about telling people close to her the truth. Consider the fact that she is already stressed in her home situation, so who would want to add to the stress by listening to a chorus of friends or family members telling her to pack her bags and end the relationship? The key for women is to ask themselves what they’re feeling emotionally and to find two or three people to confide in—otherwise, these women will go deeper into a state of isolation. If you’re worried about getting a lot of unsolicited advice, put that out there. Tell your friend, “I just need to vent for a few minutes, but I don’t think I’m ready yet for actual advice.”

Decide how much time you’ll give your partner to change.

It would be a mistake to expect a major change in behavior overnight, but it can happen in a matter of weeks or months if you’re consistent and vigilant in how you respond to his temper outbursts. If you’ve been putting up with your partner’s abusive temper for a while, you’re probably ready to put the problem to bed for good. Ask yourself how much (more) time you are willing to give him to change his specific problem behavior, and giving him a month or two to work seriously on his issues is a good amount of time. Explain to him that you can’t be in a relationship where you get mistreated and that you will give him some time to change the behavior. You don’t have to tell him the amount of time you decided to let him have to change; that information you can keep to yourself. If a few months come and go and he still has the occasional moment where he loses his temper and goes off on you, you may want to consider ending the relationship.

He has a lot of (mental) work to do.

A man with a bad temper can change—but only if he is willing to do the work. To change, he would need to understand what precipitates his outbursts, decide which new ways of coping he’s open to trying and practice responding in a new way. Sure, I’m biased, but I think the wisest choice is for the angry abuser to seek out a mental health therapist. Please note that it is not the woman’s job or responsibility to play therapist and link him with services—you know, to research clinics or contact therapists for him. If you’re dealing with a man like this, tell him you think he should talk to a counselor, join an anger management group, or read a book on the subject. Simply remind him that there are resources to help people deal with anger issues, and tell him that you hope—for the sake of your future relationship—that he cares enough to change his nasty behavior.

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Blog post | 30 Aug 2019

Someone has a stroke every 9 minutes in Australia. It’s one of our biggest killers and causes of disability.

But the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the better the outcome. Being able to spot the signs and symptoms of stroke is crucial — by acting fast, you could help a person survive and go on to live a long, happy life.

If you suspect that you or another person is having a stroke, call triple zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance.

What is stroke?

Stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted.

The brain, like all organs, needs the oxygen and nutrients provided by blood to function. If the supply of blood is restricted or stopped, brain cells begin to die. This can lead to brain damage and possibly death.

In people who survive, a stroke can cause weakness or paralysis in one side of the body. Many people also experience problems with coordination and balance, memory, mood and cognitive ability, continence, swallowing and speech. They can also suffer from severe fatigue in the first few weeks after a stroke.

Think F.A.S.T. when it comes to stroke

The best way to remember the symptoms of stroke is to remember the word ‘FAST’. If a person is showing these signs, seek help immediately:

  • Face — Check the person’s face. Has their mouth drooped?
  • Arms — Can they lift both arms?
  • Speech — Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
  • Time is critical — If you see any of these signs or suspect that you or someone else may be having a stroke, call triple zero (000) straight away and ask for an ambulance.

In the hospital emergency department, the person will be examined using specialised medical equipment. You can read more about the diagnosis and treatment of stroke here.

It’s National Stroke Week

September 2-8 is National Stroke Week 2019. The theme this year is ‘F.A.S.T. heroes’, recognising people who spotted the signs of stroke and called an ambulance straight away, potentially saving a life.

Stroke Week is also the perfect opportunity to learn more about stroke, which kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer. You can also spread awareness and raise funds to help prevent and treat stroke — and support stroke survivors.

  • Visit The Stroke Foundation for many ways to support National Stroke Week.
  • The Brain Foundation is a great resource for more information on stroke.
  • Learn more here about stroke prevention through a healthy lifestyle.

Watch this video about a patient’s experience after recovering from a stroke. Visit the Stroke Foundation website for more personal stories.

Want more like this?

For health and wellbeing news you can use, go to the healthdirect blog.