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Lanolin poisoning

Definition

Lanolin is an oily substance taken from sheep's wool. Lanolin poisoning occurs when someone swallows products that contain this substance.

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.

Alternative Names

Wool wax poisoning; Wool alcohol poisoning; Glossylan poisoning; Golden dawn poisoning; Sparklelan poisoning

Poisonous Ingredient

  • Lanolin

Where Found

Lanolin may be found in some of the following items:

  • Baby oil
  • Eye care products
  • Diaper rash products
  • Hemorrhoid medications
  • Lotions and skin creams
  • Medicated shampoos
  • Makeup (lipstick, powder, foundation)
  • Makeup removers
  • Shaving creams

Note: This list may not include all sources of lanolin.

Symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Swelling and redness of skin
  • Vomiting

Home Care

Seek immediate medical help. Do NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care professional.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • Patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed

Poison Control

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.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:

  • Laxative

More serious cases may require:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Breathing support
  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to empty the stomach (gastric lavage)

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

Medical-grade lanolin is relatively nonpoisonous. Nonmedical grade lanolin can sometimes cause a minor rash on your skin. Because it is similar to wax, eating large amounts of lanolin can cause a blockage in your intestines. Recovery is very likely.


Review Date: 1/21/2010
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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