Louisiana Poison Center seeing increase in dangerous exposures to children from essential oils

Dangers of Essential Oils

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A warning for parents about a popular product. Louisiana Poison Control is seeing an increase in dangerous exposures to children from essential oils.

They seem to be all the rage these days. Whether it's for a massage, for medicinal purposes or just to make your home smell nice, more and more people are getting into essential oils.

"Consistently we are getting people in requesting different types of oils from things such as diffusing in their homes, to mixing with their unscented body products, to getting rid of mosquitoes things of that nature. If they have burns they like lavender," said Melissa Benitez with Belladonna Day Spa.

But, with their growing popularity, comes more exposures to children. The Louisiana Poison Center says across the country, there's been an increase in kids getting sick after ingesting the oils or putting them on their skin. Those symptoms can include irritation to something more serious like seizures or liver damage.

"If swallowed, will cause a burning, uncomfortable sensation in the mouth and the throat. When it gets to the stomach again irritating, an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea are all possible and with some of the oils they can cause more neurologic symptoms," said the Louisiana Poison Center Managing Director, Dr. Mark Ryan, PharmD.

And the managing director of the Tennessee Poison Center says they're seeing the same thing. From 2011 to 2015, they saw a big increase in essential oil exposures.

"We by no means think that people should not use them but because they don't have child-resistant packaging. We have the same recommendations. Keep them up and away and out of your children's reach," said Managing Director of the Tennessee Poison Center, Nena Bowman, PharmD, DABAT.

The Louisiana Poison Center says adults also shouldn't use essential oils internally and you should be cautious about using them on your skin because they could cause you to burn in the sun.

Across the U.S., we're told the number of essential oil exposures has gone up from a little over 9,000 in 2010 to about 16,000 in 2015.

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