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Ingestion of tea tree oil (Melaleucaoil) by a 4-year-old boy

MORRIS, MARILYN C. MD; DONOGHUE, AARON MD; MARKOWITZ, JENNIFER A.; OSTERHOUDT, KEVIN C. MD

doi: 10.1097/01.pec.0000081241.98249.7b
Article

A 4-year-old boy ingested a small quantity of tea tree oil. Within 30 minutes, he became ataxic and shortly thereafter progressed to unresponsiveness; he was endotracheally intubated by paramedics. His neurologic status improved gradually over 10 hours, and he remains well on follow-up. Tea tree oil is an increasingly popular topical antiseptic that is available in a wide variety of products, often without warning labels. Healthcare providers should be aware of the common uses of tea tree oil, as well as its potential toxicity.

From the Department of Critical Care Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Address for reprints: Marilyn Morris, MD, Department of Critical Care Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104; e-mail: morrisma@email.chop.edu

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.