Poisoning can cause injury or death due to swallowing, inhaling, touching or injecting various drugs, chemicals, venoms or gases.
Many substances such as drugs and carbon monoxide are poisonous only in higher concentrations or dosages. And others such as cleaners are dangerous only if ingested. Children are particularly sensitive to even small amounts of certain drugs and chemicals.
How you treat someone who may have been poisoned depends on:
– The person’s symptoms
– The person’s age
– Whether you know the type and amount of the substance that caused poisoning.
When to Suspect Poisoning
Poisoning signs and symptoms can mimic other conditions, such as seizure, alcohol intoxication, stroke and insulin reaction.
Signs and symptoms of poisoning may include:
– Burns or redness around the mouth and lips
– Breath that smells like chemicals, such as gasoline or paint thinner
– Difficulty breathing
– Confusion or other altered mental status
– If you suspect poisoning, be alert for clues such as empty pill bottles or packages, scattered pills, and burns, stains and odors on the person or nearby objects.
With a child, consider the possibility that he or she may have applied medicated patches or swallowed a button battery.
When to Call for Help
Call your local emergency number immediately if the person is:
– Drowsy or unconscious
– Having difficulty breathing or has stopped breathing
– Uncontrollably restless or agitated- Having seizures
– Known to have taken medications, or any other substance, intentionally or accidentally overdosed (in these situations the poisoning typically involves larger amounts, often along with alcohol).
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What to do while waiting for Help, Take the following actions until help arrives:
– For Swallowed Poison: Remove anything remaining in the person’s mouth. If the suspected poison is a household cleaner or other chemical, read the container’s label and follow instructions for accidental poisoning.
– For Poison on the skin: Remove any contaminated clothing using gloves. Rinse the skin for 15 to 20 minutes in a shower or with a hose.
– For Poison in the eye: Gently flush the eye with cool or lukewarm water for 20 minutes or until help arrives.
– For Inhaled poison: Get the person into fresh air as soon as possible.
– If the person vomits, turn his or her head to the side to prevent choking.
– Begin CPR if the person shows no signs of life, such as moving, breathing or coughing.
– If the individual collapses, has a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened: Call your local emergency number IMMEDIATELY.
Also Do the following First Aid if you suspect Poison:
In the eye
It’s important that you irrigate (rinse the exposed eyes) immediately. Every second matters and a delay could result in loss of sight. Remove contact lenses. Use lots of room temperature water and irrigate for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
Adults and older children may find it easier to hop in the shower. Wrap young children in a towel and let water from the faucet in the kitchen sink run over the eye – or slowly pour water from a pitcher.
Let the water hit the bridge of the nose and gently run into the eyes rather than pouring the water directly into the eye. Important: Irrigate for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Encourage blinking.
After the 15 to 20 minute irrigation, let the eye rest while you call Poison Control for additional help. If irritation, pain, visual problems, redness, swelling, or tearing persist an hour after irrigation is started, you’ll need an urgent ophthalmic exam.
That means a trip to an urgicenter or emergency room right away, unless an eye doctor can see you immediately. If the symptoms are severe, don’t wait an hour – go straight to an emergency room after irrigating.
On the skin
It’s important that you rinse the exposed skin immediately. Remove contaminated clothing first (that’s clothing with a spill). Every second matters. Don’t delay. Use lots of room temperature running water and rinse for at least 15 minutes.
For large spills, adults and older children may find it easiest to hop in the shower. Mild hand soap can be used to remove material that sticks to the skin. Important: Rinse for at least 15 minutes.
After the 15 minute rinse, call Poison Control for additional guidance. If blistering, large or deep burns, pain, redness, or swelling worsen or persist, you will need to see a doctor right away.
But first call the poison specialists at Poison Control to see whether a trip to an urgicenter or emergency room is urgent or necessary. If the symptoms are severe, go straight to an emergency room after rinsing. Don’t wait.
It’s important that you move to fresh air immediately. Stay away from all toxic fumes and gases. Thoroughly ventilate the involved area.
Note: These are only First Aid treatments, after all these or during these treatment get a means of taking the person to the hospital for proper medical attention.
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