We all know that despite our best efforts, accidents can still happen.
One such accident that can have serious consequences is poisoning and in fact, more than 90% of poisonings occur in the home.
Poisoning occurs when a person ingests, inhales, absorbs, or injects harmful substances into their body. The severity of poisoning can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening situations. That is why it is essential to know what to do in case of poisoning.
In this article, we will discuss poisoning first aid and what you need to know to handle these emergencies.
Signs and Symptoms of Poisoning
Poisoning can occur in various ways, and the symptoms can vary depending on the type of poisoning.
Some common symptoms of poisoning include:
- Throat pain
- Sudden sleepiness, confusion, or decreased alertness
- Anxiousness, nervousness, irritability, or tremors
- Substance residue or burn around the mouth, teeth, eyes, or on the skin
- Trouble breathing
In some cases, the symptoms of poisoning may not be apparent, and a person may not know they have been poisoned. It is crucial to identify the type of poisoning if possible to provide the right first aid.
First Aid for Poisoning
If you suspect someone has been poisoned, you should immediately call your local Poison Control center, as they will be able to provide valuable next steps and advise you if an emergency room visit is required. If the patient is not exhibiting symptoms, do not wait for them to present before calling Poison Control.
***Note that if the person you suspect has been poisoned is unconscious or not breathing, call 911 and start CPR immediately.
Below are the typical first aid protocols for different types of poisoning:
- Poison inhaled: get the patient fresh air right away
- Poison on skin: take off any clothing the poison has touched and rinse skin with running water for 15 to 20 minutes
- Poison in eyes: rinse eyes with running water for 15 to 20 minutes
- Poison ingested: remove anything remaining in the patient’s mouth and follow the instructions given by Poison Control
Visit the Canadian Association for Poison Centers and Clinical Toxicology to find the emergency number for your province or territory.
Preventing poisoning is always better than dealing with it.
Proper, safe poison prevention includes:
- Storing medicines, chemicals, and other potentially dangerous substances out of the reach of children
- Always keeping potentially toxic substances in their original containers with childproof caps
- Never leave these substances out in the open
- Teach children about the dangers of poisoning and how to stay safe
- Ensure that your home has the appropriate amount carbon monoxide detectors for its size and that they are all in working condition
Poisoning is a serious matter that requires quick and appropriate action.
By knowing the signs and symptoms of poisoning and following the right first aid procedures, you can help prevent serious harm to yourself and those around you. It is also essential to take steps to prevent poisoning in the first place.
Remember, taking a first aid training course can provide you with the skills and confidence needed to handle emergency situations, like poisoning, with ease.