I write a lot about using essential oils. I believe they are a wonderful tool for well-being and I love that they are natural. But a couple of nights ago, my close friend’s 3 year old drank a bottle of rose oil. They had to rush her to the emergency room. She had burns on her neck and in her throat. She’s home and she’s going to be fine, but it made me realize that I should cover the safe use of essential oils and what to do in case of an emergency. How can you use essential oils safely? Keep in mind these are general guidelines only.
Use Your Oils Safely
Essential oils have the potential for harm if misused. It’s important to be aware of safe usage practices.. Keep these tips in mind:
- Always be sure you’re using a good quality oil. This is especially true if you are ingesting the oil. Many oils available are diluted, and even if they’re pure, not all are safe for internal use.
- Essential oils will burn the skin if used undiluted. Mix with a carrier oil.
- Always test for an allergic reaction when using a new oil. Try the soles of your feet or inside your arm just above the elbow.
- Keep oils out of reach of children.
- Use extra caution when using oils on those with respiratory conditions, the elderly, and pregnant women.
- Some oils are potentially flammable. Keep away from open flames.
- Keep essential oils away from your eyes.
- Don’t put oils in your ear canal.
- Always be sure to properly dilute the oils before using. The proper dilution depends largely on the person’s age and the oil itself; do your research.
What to Do in an Emergency
Despite all the care and precaution taken, though, accidents still happen. What can you do in an emergency?
- If essential oils are swallowed, the best thing to do is get to a doctor.
- Activated charcoal can absorb some of the oil.
- Immediately drink an oil soluble liquid such as milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, cream or yogurt.
- You can also call poison control.
- I can’t emphasize this enough: GET TO A DOCTOR. While swallowing, some of the oil can end up in the lungs and cause pneumonia, not to mention the potential for burns inside the mouth and throat. Seizures can also occur.
If it spills on your skin or gets in your eyes:
- Don’t wash with water. It’s better to wipe the skin with a carrier oil or even vegetable oil. it will remove the excess oil. For the eyes, rinse with milk. It will reduce the burning and then you can rinse the eyes with water.
- Monitor the area for a rash or burns.
- You may still need to see a doctor, especially if you’ve gotten oil in your eyes.
This is just a basic overview of oil safety. There are plenty of reliable resources for more information. Educate yourself to be sure you are using your oils safely and wisely.
Read more about essential oils: