Toggle: English / Spanish
Candles are light sources made from wax with a wick in the middle. Candle poisoning occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally swallows candle wax.
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.
- Paraffin wax
- Synthetic wax
- Vegetable oil-based wax
Candle wax is considered nonpoisonous, but it may cause intestinal blockage if a large amount is swallowed.
Seek immediate medical help. Do NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care professional.
Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:
- Patient's age, weight, and condition
- Name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
- Time it was swallowed
- Amount swallowed
Poison Control, or a local emergency number
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
See: Poison control center - emergency number
What to expect at the emergency room
A trip to the emergency room may not be necessary. The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.
Symptoms will be treated as appropriate.
A laxative may be given to help the wax move quickly through the gastrointestinal tract and prevent a bowel blockage.
How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.
Because candle wax is considered nonpoisonous, recovery is very likely.
- Last reviewed on 2/16/2012
- Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
This page was last updated: April 14, 2014