Petroleum jelly is a semisolid mixture of fat-based substances made from petroleum. This article discusses what happens when someone swallows a lot of petroleum jelly.
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Do NOT make the person throw up unless told to do so by poison control. Inhaling the substance during vomiting can lead to severe problems.
If the product is in the eyes, flush with large amounts of water for at least 15 minutes.
Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:
Patient's age, weight, and condition
Name of product (as well as the ingredients and strength if known)
Time it was swallowed
Poison Control, or a local emergency number
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called 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.
Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.
The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate.
Petroleum jelly is considered nontoxic. Recovery is likely.
Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.