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Antifreeze poisoning


Antifreeze is a liquid used to cool engines. It is also called engine coolant. This article discusses poisoning caused by swallowing antifreeze.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

See also:Ethylene glycol poisoning


  • Airways and lungs
    • Rapid breathing
    • No breathing
  • Bladder and kidneys
    • Blood in urine
    • No urine output or decreased urine output
  • Eyes, ears, nose, and throat
    • Blurred vision
    • Blindness
  • Heart and blood
    • Change in body's acid-base balance, which can lead to organ failure
    • Rapid heartbeat
    • Low blood pressure
  • Muscles and joints
    • Leg cramps
  • Nervous system
    • Coma
    • Convulsions
    • Dizziness
    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Slurred speech
    • Stupor (lack of alertness)
    • Unconsciousness
    • Unsteady walk
    • Weakness
  • Skin
    • Blue lips and fingernails
  • Stomach and gastrointestinal tract
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting


For ethylene glycol: Death may occur within the first 24 hours. If patient survives, there may be little or no urine output for several weeks before the kidneys recover. Any brain damage may be permanent. Vision loss or blindness may also be permanent.

For methanol: Methanol is extremely toxic. As little as 2 TABLEspoons can kill a child, while 2 to 8 oz. can be deadly for an adult. The ultimate outcome depends on how much was swallowed and how soon appropriate care was given.