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Outdoor First Aid

Swallowing Camp Stove Fuel

How to treat yourself if you gulp down stove fuel in camp.

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It’s dark, you grope for your water bottle, then gulp from a plastic container. Your body immediately quivers with the terrifying realization that you just swallowed stove fuel.

“Relax,” says William “Doc” Forgey, M.D. “Swallowing a few mouthfuls of a petroleum product won’t kill you.” What could be fatal, however, is vomiting—you might inhale some petroleum in the process, which can cause your body to send fluid to your lungs in an effort to dilute the poison. Instead, drink plenty of water and take it easy for a few hours.