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Poisoning … what to do


Definition of Poisoning:

Anything that if taken in sufficient quantity, has a temporary or permanent affect on the body.

Virtually anything taken in large doses can lead to poisoning; even water taken in very large quantities can unbalance the body’s water electrolyte balance. Certain poisons can also pose a threat to the rescuer

Identification / look out for:     

  • Nausea and vomiting   
  • Pain in digestive tract
  • Blood from digestive tract
  • Drowsiness and faintness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Flushed, damp skin
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Shock

What to do:

  1. Seek immediate medical help / ambulance.
  2. Find out the cause of poisoning if possible.
  3. If poison absorbed through skin, remove all clothing and wash affected area under running water thoroughly while ensuring your own protection.
  4. Look for and retain any of the following:
  • Vomited material
  • Syringes
  • Medications / drugs

These should be sent to the hospital along with the patient.   This will aid in diagnosis and specific treatment.

  1. If the patient is unconscious – check airway and monitor breathing, if required start CPR – (protect yourself) 
  2. Note down exact time of poison ingestion.

Do not:

  1. Make the casualty vomit.
  2. Do not feed liquid or solid by mouth.
  3. Move the casualty around unnecessarily

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