Poisons are toxins which can cause either temporary or permanent damage if they are taken into the body, more serious cases of poisoning can even result in death. There are a number of ways in which poisons can enter your body; the most common method is consumption – drinking or eating the poison, but poison can also be inhaled, injected or absorbed through the skin.
Once a poison has entered your body, it can quickly enter your bloodstream and be carried swiftly through your entire body and to all of your organs and tissues.
Recognizing that you or somebody you know have been poisoned is not always an easy thing to do. Some poisons display features which develop very quickly and would be noticed in a short amount of time, but other poisons can take a number of days to set in, during which time the casualty will not exhibit any features you would recognize as a result of poisoning.
There are many different types of poisoning; we have poisoning occurring from drugs, food, alcohol, insects, and even plants and fungi. Due to the large diversity of different types of poisons, giving first aid for these situations can be difficult. It’s important that if you ever find someone you suspect of being poisoned, you should immediately seek professional medical help to get a proper diagnosis.
So, how can you help in a situation like this?
If the person is lying down or asleep, try to wake them up and encourage them to spit out any pills they may have in their mouth – although it’s important that you don’t put your hand in their mouth, or try to make them sick as this could make things worse.
If you’re waiting for the emergency services to arrive, place the casualty into the recovery position so they don’t fall onto their face. Wipe their mouth clear of any vomit and keep their head pointing down – this allows them to vomit freely without breathing any of it back in or swallowing it. It’s also important that you don’t try to give a casualty anything to eat or drink if they have been poisoned. Just reassure them if they are conscious and wait for the emergency services to arrive.
What can you do to help the emergency service team?
The medics who arrive on scene will need as much information as possible relating to the possible cause of poisoning and the time factors. If you have any of the following information it would be of great use to the paramedics:
- What substance the casualty took, and how much was taken
- How long ago they consumed the substance
- How the substance was taken (swallowed, injected, inhaled, absorbed)
- The casualty’s age and weight
- If the casualty has any existing medical conditions
- Whether the casualty is on any medication
If diagnosed and treated quickly, most cases of poisoning don’t result in any long term or serious damage. So make sure that if you ever suspect somebody of suffering any type of poisoning, you should seek medical attention instantly – do not delay!
Author Bio: Alice has always had a soft spot for technology and gadgetry. When she is not busy with Aus Wide First Aid, she spends his time giving first aid advice, and sharing her passion for technology with others.