Poisons

A poison can be described as any substance (solid, liquid or gas) that causes damage when it enters the body in a sufficient quantity.

A poison can be either corrosive, such as acids or bleach or non-corrosive such as tablets, drugs or alcohol.

A poison can enter the body in 4 ways:

Ingested: swallowed Inhaled: breathed in, entering the blood stream very quickly as it passes through the lungs.
Absorbed: through the skin Injected: through the skin, directly into tissues or a blood vessel.

Recognition

It can be difficult recognise signs and symptoms of poisoning, however, you may be able to see, smell or be told what has been taken. Pass on any containers or other information about the substance, find out how much has been taken and when. Where possible, keep any samples of vomit for hospital analysis.

 

So what can I do about it?

For a corrosive substance:

  1. Dilute the substance or wash it away if possible.
  2. If the substance has been swallowed, then get them to rinse of their mouth and encourage them to take sips of water or milk.
  3. Call 999/111 for advice/help
  4. If they become unconscious but are breathing, then place in the recovery position.
  5. Prepare to resuscitate if they stop breathing.

For a non-corrosive substance:

  1. Call 999/111 for advice/help
  2. If they become unconscious but are breathing, then place in the recovery position.
  3. Prepare to resuscitate if they stop breathing.

 

Want to know more? Attend a training course which covers this topic:

QA Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work (QCF)
QA Level 2 Award in Emergency First Aid At Work (QCF)
QA Level 2 Award In Basic Life Support and Safe Use of an Automated External Defibrillator (QCF)
QA Level 2 Award in Basic Life Support and Management of Anaphylaxis (QCF)
QA Level 3 Award in Paediatric First Aid (QCF)

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