Basic first aid: Dealing with poisoning

Poisoning occurs once an individual is exposed to a substance that can impair their health or put one’s life at risk. In most instances of poisoning, it occurs at home. Children below 5 years old face the highest risk for accidental poisoning, thus it is vital to ensure that all poisonous substances including medications and household cleaning products are stored out of sight and out of reach of children.

Possible causes of poisoning

The usual way in which an individual gets poisoned is by ingesting a harmful substance, but other ways where one can be poisoned include the following:

  • Inhalation of a substance
  • Injection of a detrimental substance
  • Being bitten or stung by an insect or animal
  • Splashing of a substance onto the skin or into the mouth or eyes
    Poisoning

    The signs and symptoms of poisoning usually depends on the type of poison, amount taken, age and size of the individual and general health.

What are the indications?

The signs and symptoms of poisoning usually depends on the type of poison, amount taken, age and size of the individual and general health. Essentially, there are things to watch out for such as the following:

  • Feeling sick
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Appetite loss
  • Dizziness, drowsiness or weakness
  • Chills
  • High temperature above 38 degrees C
  • Headache
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Irritability
  • Skin rashes
  • Increased saliva production
  • Burns around the mouth or nose
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Seizures
  • Coma (severe cases)

When to seek medical care

If an individual is suspected with poisoning, call for emergency assistance right away or bring him/her to the nearest healthcare facility.

In case the individual has any indications of being seriously sick such as drowsiness, vomiting, seizures or loss of consciousness, it is vital to call for emergency assistance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department.

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