First Aid/Poisoning

Introduction edit

Specific information concerning treatment can be obtained from accompanying labels or written documentation such as the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet). Expert advice (poison control) and rapid transport to advanced medical care (EMS) is urgently needed in poisoning cases.

A poisoning victim may require basic life support at any moment; monitor the victim's ABCs throughout.

Absorbed Poisons edit

Background edit

Absorbed poisons are taken into the body through unbroken skin. Absorbed poisons are especially dangerous as they may not only cause local damage, but they can enter the bloodstream and cause widespread damage. It is important to note that certain poisons such as agricultural chemicals or insecticides may enter the bloodstream through absorption while leaving the skin undamaged.

Treatment edit

As with any type of poisoning, EMS should be immediately called and the rescuer should always start with the initial assessment and treat any life-threatening problems before continuing. Once all life-threats are taken care of, then the poison should be removed carefully. Failure to do so may lead to the rescuer succumbing to the poison as well. Rescuers should always wear at least one and possibly two sets of gloves. Filter masks should also be worn to prevent inhalation.

Topical poisons tend to be in either a powder or liquid form. The treatment for either form is the same. First, remove any excess poison from the affected area, being careful not to inhale or touch it. This will decrease the potential for harm and make the next step exponentially easier. If possible, capture the poison in a clean secure container for identification purposes. Next, irrigate the affected area for at least 20 minutes to dilute the poison.

Inhaled Poisons edit

Background edit

Inhalation injuries can come from a variety of sources including the inhalation of smoke, gasses, and chemicals. Inhaling poisons can result in issues like difficulty breathing, airway burns, and cell death.

Treatment edit

Get the victim to fresh air. Use caution in giving rescue breathing to a person overcome by hazardous chemicals, as you may be contaminated in so doing. Alert EMS and contact the poison control center. Depending on what kind of gas or chemical the poison is, specially trained personnel may need to be called to help the victim out of the contaminated area. Rescuers should not go into an area that appears to contain, or smells like chemicals or gasses, as they may face the same problems as the victim, and become victims themselves.

Ingested Poisons edit

Background edit

Poisoning by ingestion can occur by eating or drinking poisons. Medications and cleaning chemicals are poisons that are often ingested, especially by little children. Little children are often curious and like to investigate colorful looking containers and little items that look like candy or food. It can also occur by accident or intentionally in adults and older children.

Treatment edit

Internal poisoning may not be immediately apparent. Symptoms, such as vomiting are sufficiently general that an immediate diagnosis cannot be made. The best indication of internal poisoning may be the presence of an open container of medication or toxic household chemicals. Check the label for specific first aid instructions for that specific poison.

  Don't do this!
Do not administer emergency antidotes or induce vomiting without the benefit of expert advice.

Call for help immediately as advanced medical care will be required. If possible contact a poison control center and provide information about the suspected poison. Depending on the type of poison, the poison control center may suggest additional first aid measures pending the arrival of emergency medical technicians. These might include dilution with water or milk, administration of syrup of ipecac or activated charcoal, or the use of other common household products as improvised emergency antidotes.

Appropriate first aid measures vary depending on the type of poison. Induced vomiting may do more harm than good, because the poison may harm the alimentary canal or esophagus. Vomit may also block the airway. However, induced vomiting may be necessary with some poisons to save the victim's life. Only induce vomiting if directed by the poison control center or EMS.

Injected Poisons edit

Background edit

An injection poisoning can occur from a variety of sources, including drug abuse, animal bites, insect stings, and plants. Injection poisoning is when an object breaks intact skin, and pushed poison into the body, often directly into the bloodstream.

Treatment edit

Poison Control Centers will provide the best information for first aiders. Basic treatment involves monitoring the patient's ABCs, treating for shock, observing the patient for an allergic reaction, and calming the patient.

To help EMS, gain as much information about the poison as you can. What it was, when it was injected, how it was injected, and if the person has any allergies to the injection. (For example a bee sting causing anaphylaxis.)

Always take steps to keep yourself safe. If needles were used to inject the poison, be careful to avoid touching or stepping on them, as there could still be poison in/on those needles. Be aware of bees, wasps, and animals in the area, as they could also harm you in the same way they harmed the victim.