Hydrocarbons are chemicals in glues, gasoline, paint and paint thinners, and kerosene.
What is hydrocarbon poisoning?
Hydrocarbon poisoning is sickness from swallowing or breathing in fumes from hydrocarbon products.
Most small children who swallow these products and are poisoned will recover
Teens and adults who breathe in fumes to get high (known as huffing, bagging, or sniffing) can die of cardiac arrest (when their heart stops beating) or have brain damage
Swallowing hydrocarbons can lead to irritation and then infection of the lungs
Severe poisoning affects your brain, heart, bone marrow, and kidneys
If you think you or someone else may have been poisoned, call for emergency medical assistance (911 in most areas of the United States) right away.
What are the symptoms of hydrocarbon poisoning?
A burning feeling in the stomach
Blue skin (due to low oxygen levels in the blood)
Trouble breathing—it can take several hours for this to happen
Poor coordination (clumsiness)
Seizures (when your body moves or jerks out of your control)
Coma (when you’re unconscious and can’t be woken up)
How can doctors tell if I have hydrocarbon poisoning?
Doctors will suspect hydrocarbon poisoning based on your symptoms and a description of what happened. They may smell hydrocarbons or see marks from paint or oil on your body or clothes.
Do a chest x-ray to check for fluid in your lungs
Measure the oxygen level in your blood
Do an MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) MRI is a test that uses a machine with a powerful magnet to make pictures of the inside of your body. A computer creates a series of detailed pictures. Each picture looks like a slice taken... read more (magnetic resonance imaging) if they need to check for brain damage
How do doctors treat hydrocarbon poisoning?
Have you take off any clothes that touched the hydrocarbon
Wash your skin well
Give you oxygen or, if severe, a ventilator if you have breathing problems
Care for you in the hospital until you recover
Give you medicine to prevent infection