When Poisonings Occur: 3 Questions Answered


Are there some first aid measures I can take when an ingestion takes place?

Remain calm. Not all medicines and household chemicals are poisonous, and not all exposures necessarily result in poisoning. For medicines, call the Poison Control Center or doctor immediately. For household chemical products, call the Poison Control Center or follow the first aid instructions on the label. If unable to contact them, call your local emergency number (911 in most areas) or the operator. Keep emergency numbers listed near the phone before an emergency arises. When you contact the Poison Control Center or other emergency personnel, be prepared to give the facts (described below) to the expert on the other end of the phone. Have the label ready when you call the expert. The label provides information concerning the product's contents and advice on what immediate first aid to perform. This will be useful when giving first aid and when you call the Poison Control Center.

Tell the expert:
• Your child's age
• Your child's weight
• Existing health conditions or problems
• The substance involved and how it contacted the child. For example, was it swallowed, inhaled, absorbed through skin contact, or splashed into the eyes?
• Any first aid which may have been given
• If your child has vomited
• Your location, and how long it will take you to get to the hospital

If medicine has been swallowed, do not give anything by mouth until advised by the Poison Control Center. If chemicals or household products have been swallowed, call the Poison Control Center or follow the first aid instructions on the label. Always keep on hand at home a one-ounce bottle of syrup of ipecac for each child or grandchild under age 5 in the home. Use only on advice of the Poison Control Center, emergency department, or doctor.

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