First Aid for Household Poisoning

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Household poisoning is a very common occurrence in our environment and there are a whole lots of items we have in our houses that are poisonous to our health if inhaled or ingested.

This post is aimed to cover what to do, when you or your child (mostly) accidentally takes in any of these things. The first aid procedures for household poisoning if effectively done could be the difference between life and death for a child, before rushing to the hospital.

First Aid for house hold poisoning in simple terms entails, what you should do first to prevent death, if for example, a child swallows bleach, fuel, acid, drugs, fumes, etc.

What are the First Aids for Household poisoning?

What to do depends on type of poison that was taken, and how it occurred, whether it’s on the skin, eyes, inhaled or swallowed. What to do:

household poison

Skin: If poison is on the skin or clothes;

  • quickly & carefully remove the person’s clothes
  • pour large amounts of water over the skin for 15 minutes
  • wash skin thoroughly many times with soap & water
  • move to nearest hospital!

Eyes: If poison is in the eyes;

  • remove any contact lenses
  • pour CLEAN WATER in the eyes for 15 minutes (DON’T USE SOAP!)
  • encourage blinking
  • move to hospital instantly
    Every second here matters & a slight delay could lead to permanent loss of sight!

Ingested: For swallowed poisons;

-follow instructions for poisoning on the container (where available)
-give some water or milk instantly (IF the swallowed poison is burning, irritating or caustic, & the person is awake, not convulsing & can swallow!). Then move to hospital

Inhaled (gases): For inhaled or sniffed poisons;

  • instantly move victim to a place with fresh air devoid of toxic fumes.
  • if they vomit, turn their head to the side to avoid choking.
  • if no signs of life (not moving, breathing or coughing) start CPR!
  • to hospital.

Please remember after attempting the first aid measures for about 15 minutes without results, you must rush the person immediately to a health centre. If possible, bring some of the poison or medicine that the person took & it’s container with you. And try to keep the victim from crying.

NEVER TRY TO MAKE A POISON VICTIM TO VOMIT!

Don’t stick a finger or spoon in their mouth to make them “vomit out the poison”!. If you try that, you’ll cause further harm that can make the poison enter their airway & cause serious injury that kills faster!

Many children in particular die of household poisons before reaching the hospital due to inappropriate first aid measures. What we’ve shared today applies for both children & adults of all ages.

Common Household Poisons in our Environment

From my experience, people frequently get poisoned by;

  • Pain relieve drugs
  • Smoke & generator fumes
  • Pesticides & insecticides. Click here to read about Pesticide poisoning
  • Cosmetic products
  • Bleach & caustic soda, &
  • Household fuels like kerosene, petrol & diesel
    These things are commonly available and kept lying around in our environment.

Poisons are hiding everywhere! In your bathroom, sitting room, kitchen, garage, backyard even office. Kids are particularly vulnerable. This write up aims to make you capable of giving first aid treatment to a poison victim, before medical help arrives.

Every person, parent or caregiver must beware of the risks of accidental poisoning as their child grows up. Even as adults, we don’t know when accidents happen.

A stitch in time saves nine.

Feel free to ask any question at all using the comment box below and I’d try to get to them as soon as I can.

Authors

  • Nwonye Brian Chidiebube attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH in Ituku Ozalla, Enugu State, Nigeria.

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