Poisoning can be caused by the inhalation, ingestion or injection of a toxic substance, most of which is produced accidentally. In this article, we will know how to give first aid for poisoning. The first thing to do if symptoms of intoxication are observed in the person is to call a health center.
However, there are cases where the affected person will need first aid help while help arrives, or while the affected person is transferred to a hospital. Today we will tell you how to perform first aid for poisoning, according to the way in which poisoning has been carried out.
First aid for poisoning by ingestion (oral)
If ingestion poisoning is suspected, look for possible associated symptoms: nausea and vomiting, partial or total loss of consciousness, severe stomach pains, burns in the mouth area, or sensations of internal burns on the part of the victim. Some of the points to be considered, not necessarily in that order, are:
- Try to identify the cause of the poisoning, since it will be essential to determine the treatment to follow. If there is an open container that is evidence of the source of the poisoning, write down its characteristics and then inform the healthcare center, in order to receive more specific guided instructions in case of having to carry out first aid for poisoning.
- Cleanses the person’s airway. If possible, use a clean cloth. If you go to the hospital, take the towel with you.
- Make sure the affected person is lying on their side, with their head on a pillow. This will allow vomiting if vomit does not touch your clothes or choke.
- Give mouth-to-mouth breathing if you notice that the person is not breathing and is unconscious. Always watch the pulse while medical attention arrives.
- Loosen the person’s belt and remove it from any object that generates pressure or that is potentially sharp, such as jewelry, hoops or other accessories.
- Do not induce vomiting in the victim, unless the health center so determines, based on an absolute certainty about what caused the poisoning (which does not always occur). Some poisons, especially corrosive substances, can cause more damage when vomiting is induced.
First aid for poisoning by inhalation
Normally inhalation occurs due to breathing toxic gases or fumes. Note that the order of the steps to follow may not necessarily be the one proposed.
In case you suspect that the poisoning was due to the inhalation of toxic gases, follow the following indications:
- First, ensure your integrity: cover your nose and mouth with a cloth or clothes, better wet. Open windows if possible, as long as it is safe to do so.
- Make sure you move the affected person to a place with fresh air, even if there is no smell in the environment. Carbon monoxide, for example, is a toxic gas and does not emit an odor.
- Check the victim to see if he has normal breathing, and be prepared to do mouth-to-mouth breathing and resuscitation (CPR) if he does not notice a pulse in it. Monitor your pulse constantly.
- Do not smoke or ignite matches, since it could combust if there are flammable gases.
- Survey the person aside, with something comfortable under their head.
- If the victim vomits, you must protect and clean their airways.
First aid for poisoning through contact with the skin or eyes
Normally a person will be poisoned in their skin or eyes because of highly corrosive and aggressive substances.
- Identify the substance that caused the poisoning, so inform when you call the health center (always the first thing you should do). See if the package has instructions on how to operate in cases of poisoning.
- Remove clothing that has come in contact with the substance and throw it out of reach of anyone. Be careful not to come into contact with the poison yourself.
- Wash the affected area, skin or eyes, for several minutes with warm water (never cold or boiling). Try to do it continuously while help arrives.
- If the poison came in contact with the eyes, it prevents the victim from scrubbing them, so it is best to ask them to try to blink as much as possible.
We hope these steps can be useful in case you have to give first aid for poisoning to someone. Always remember to call the hospital or health center first before taking any action.