First Aid Tips
A poisoning may or may not be obvious. Sometimes
the source of a poisoning can be easily identified
-- an open bottle of medication or a spilled bottle
of household cleaner. Look for these signs if you
suspect a poisoning emergency:
1. Burns or redness around the mouth and lips.
2. Breath that smells like chemicals.
3. Burns, stains, and odors on the person, his or
her clothing, or on the furniture, floor, rugs, or
other objects in the surrounding area.
4. Vomiting, difficulty breathing, or other unexpected
If you can find no indication of poisoning, do not
treat the person for poisoning, but call for emergency
If you believe someone
has been poisoned, take the following steps:
1. Some products have instructions on the label specifying
what to do if a poisoning occurs. If the product known
to be the poison has these instructions, follow them.
2. If the person is alert, give him or her a glass
of water or milk to drink. The liquid will slow the
rate at which the poison is absorbed by the body.
But if the person is weak, lethargic, unconscious,
or having seizures, do not give him or her anything
3. If you cannot identify the poison or there are
no instructions on the product label, call your local
poison control center for instructions. Keep the number
near your telephone.
4. Certain poisons should be vomited; others should
not. If you do not know the identity of the substance
swallowed, do not induce vomiting. Overall, you should
not induce vomiting unless directed to by a poison
control authority or your physician.
5. If you are told to induce vomiting in the person
who has swallowed poison, use syrup of ipecac to do
An alternative method to induce vomiting is touching
the back of the throat of the person to initiate gagging.
If you have no other alternative, have the person
drink a glass of warm water containing 1 teaspoon
of dried mustard or 3 teaspoons of salt. After the
person has vomited, give a glass of water or milk.
6. If the poison has spilled on the person's clothing,
skin, or eyes, remove the clothing and flush the skin
or eyes with cool or lukewarm water for 20 minutes.
7. Get immediate medical attention. If you have identified
the poison, take the container with you.