Accidental Motor Oil Drinking: What will Happen?

Short Answer: If you accidentally drink motor oil, you may suffer from coughing, choking, vomiting, diarrhea, and aspiration.

Motor oil is a lubricant used in internal combustion engines, which power cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers, and many other machines.

It typically consists of base oils enhanced with various additives, such as antiwear additives, detergents, dispersants, and viscosity index improvers.

Motor oil base oils can be composed of petroleum-based hydrocarbons, polyalphaolefins (PAO), or their mixtures in various proportions, sometimes with up to 20% by weight of esters for better dissolution of additives.

If you accidentally drink motor oil, you may experience coughing, choking, vomiting, and diarrhea.

This is because motor oil contains substances called hydrocarbons, which are harmful if swallowed or inhaled.

Hydrocarbons can slip into the airway or be inhaled later during the process of vomiting. This is called aspiration, which can be very irritating and lead to infection.

Hydrocarbons can dissolve the oils and fats in the skin and mucous membranes, causing pain, irritation, or swelling.

They can also affect the nervous system and cause drowsiness, confusion, headache, or seizures.

In severe cases, hydrocarbon poisoning can lead to coma or death.

It is uncommon to drink motor oil due to its unpleasant taste and smell.

However, it may happen accidentally if motor oil is stored in a container that looks like a beverage bottle or if a child is curious and unsupervised.

Motor oil may also be ingested intentionally as a form of self-harm or suicide attempt.

You should seek medical attention immediately if you or someone you know drinks motor oil.

Do not induce vomiting unless instructed by a poison control center or a health care provider.

Vomiting may increase the risk of aspiration and lung damage.

Call the local emergency number or the local poison control center.

To avoid accidental drinking of motor oil, you should store it in a secure place and keep it out of reach of children.

You should also label the container clearly and dispose of it properly when it is no longer needed.

Do not reuse motor oil containers for other purposes.

Finally, remember, motor oil is not a beverage and should never be consumed by humans or animals.

It is a vital component for your engine’s performance and longevity, but it can be very harmful if swallowed or inhaled.

About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutrition coach with over 7 years of experience in the field of nutrition.

He holds a Bachelor's (B.Sc.) and Master's (M.Sc.) degree in Biochemistry from The University of Burdwan, India. He was also involved with a research project about genetic variations in the CYP11A gene among PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome patients.

He has completed the following online courses: Stanford Introduction to Food and Health by Stanford University (US) through Coursera, Certificate in Nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc. (US), Lose Weight and Keep It Off certificate course from Harvard Medical School (US), and Nutrition and Disease Prevention by Taipei Medical University (Taiwan) through FutureLearn.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

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