What are the consequences of phenol ingestion?

Q. Please explain the poisonous effect of phenol ingestion.

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Majid Hanif
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 29, 2017 and last reviewed on: Jun 15, 2023

Hello doctor,

My friend aged 30 had two drops of phenol mistaking for milk. He vomited and had lot of salt water. Please advice for any side effect.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I want to assure you not to worry as everything is going to be fine if proper care and treatment is opted in for. I have thoroughly gone through your case and can well understand your genuine health concerns. Thank you and take care.

The Probable causes:

The probable causes are: 1. No, there is not much problem right now as he vomited and also had a lot of water. It is fine because it was only two drops.

2. We usually do not go for emesis (vomiting) for phenol poisoning cases. Because, it is a volatile compound and causes vapors entering the lungs through the airways.

3. As it was only two drops, I do not think it may cause much trouble. If he feels short of breath contact me back, otherwise fine.

Preventive measures:

Preventive measures include: 1. He should avoid re-exposure.

2. Rule out if there is some sort of suicidal ideation due to depression or anxiety and take him to a psychiatrist for physical evaluation.

Regarding follow up:

For further follow up consult a general practitioner online.---> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/general-practitioner

Hi doctor,

He drank salt water to induce vomit. Was that fine? As per your opinion vomiting is not advised, so should he need any check up with doctor? Will drinking phenol cause any side effects? Please help.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I want to assure you not to worry as everything is going to be fine. I hope this helps. Thankyou and take care. Regards.

The Probable causes:

Phenol has phenyl+hydroxyl group makes it an acid known Carbolic acid. As other acids, it is also a corrosive acid and is definitely a volatile aromatic organic compound not good for the inner lining of the food pipe.

But we always see the poisoning in terms of the amount of poison ingested. He ingested only two drops and that is very minute to cause major burns that may lead to future scarring or the strictures in the esophagus (the food pipe). Phenol is also used in medications but in processed forms and that too sometimes may lead to side effects. So, I would specifically add here the side effects that I see usually in my patients (very less reported ones though):-

1. Sore throat.

2. Fever.

3. Mouth ulcers or simply a rash (inner side or around the mouth).

4. Headache and nausea/vomiting.

5. Difficulty in breathing.

6. Rash or swelling anywhere on the body.

So if you see any of the symptoms like that, just let me know for further treatment. Right now he is fine.

No need to visit a doctor for physical evaluation. I would have advised if the volume of ingested phenol was significantly high. Also, he tried to dilute it to some extent with plenty of salt water.

As I said earlier, for volatile poisons, we do not preferably go for vomiting. It is because when the volatile substance comes back from stomach to mouth in its way its fumes/vapors get entry into the lungs too. Again I want to make you relax that the volume of only two fluid drops is not so much hazardous in this regard.

Treatment plan:

The treatment plan is as follows: 1. Give Citrucel (Methylcellulose) dietary fiber supplement with plenty of water.

2. Give him syrup Gaviscon before every meal.

3. Ask him to take soft and bland diet for a couple of days.

4. Do assure that he drinks plenty of water.

Preventive measures:

The preventive measures are excessive coughing and constipation.

Was this answer helpful?


Same symptoms doesn’t mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Related Questions:
I masturbate a lot.My penis is swollen. Can you suggest a remedy ?

i have a lump in my hard pallate and the size has increased from past 2 days.   Read full

My husband has a chest pain that comes and goes. Could it be a heart condition?

i have a lump in my hard pallate and the size has increased from past 2 days.   Read full

I had phenyl and suffering from throat inflammation. Please help.

i have a lump in my hard pallate and the size has increased from past 2 days.   Read full

Also Read Answers From:

ideaComprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Also Read

PCOS and Liver Problems
The hormonal imbalances in polycystic ovary syndrome could cause liver diseases. Read the article to know the relationship between these medical conditions.  Read more»
Inferior Alveolar Nerve Lateralization Technique
The inferior alveolar nerve lateralization technique is a surgical lateralization technique to reposition the nerve. Read the article to know more about this.  Read more»
COVID-19 and Ebola: Similarities and Differences
This article gives a comparison and broader overview of the outbreak of the two deadliest diseases that showed a greater incidence over the last two decades.  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask a General Practitioner Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.