There are many substances that we have in our environment that can be natural or even man made, many of these can be toxic or cause harsh chemical reactions to our bodies. Poisons are substances that have a harmful effect within the body if it is inhaled, swallowed, absorbed, or injected. Poisons are immediately life-threatening if they affect breathing or circulation. “When you treat someone who has been poisoned, you should take precautions to make sure that you do not come into contact with the poison yourself.”
4 Routs of Exposure:
- Injected – Enters the body through bites, stings or needles
- Inhaled – Enters the body through the lungs “breathed in”
- Ingested – Swallowed or contacts the lips & mouth
- Absorbed – Enters through the skin from exposure
What it looks like:
- Injected – Puncture wound, problems breathing, pain, prescription medication or illegal drugs nearby, redness and swelling at the entry point.
- Inhaled – Breathing difficulties, irritated eye, nose or throat, vomiting, dizziness, seizures, bluish color around the mouth, unconsciousness, and unusual smell in the air, a cloud or plume in the air.
- Ingested – An open container of poison nearby, burns around the mouth, increased production of saliva and/or saliva that is an abnormal color, Abnormal cramps and vomiting, seizures, dizziness and or drowsiness, unconsciousness, a burning sensation in the mouth, throat or stomach, diarrhea.
- Absorbed – Rash, burning, itching, swelling blisters, hives “raised itchy area of skin“, burns, unconsciousness.
- Keep all medications, vitamins, household cleaners, hygiene products, decorative plants and other toxic substances well out of reach of children. “Duel Tab Child Locks are recommended”
- Use child-resistant safety caps on medications and other potentially toxic products.
- Treat all household, cosmetic or drugstore products as if they could be dangerous.
- Teach children to check with an adult before eating an unknown substance.
- Never call medicine “Candy or juice” to persuade a child to take it.
- Keep products in their “original” Containers with their original labels.
- Use poison symbols to identify dangerous substances and teach children what the symbols mean.
- All medicine bottles and boxes should be carefully labelled. Read the label three times when you are taking or giving medications.1) When you take the medication from the cupboard or refrigerator, 2) when you take the medication out of the package, 3) just before you assist the patient taking the medication.
- “Always follow your local legislation on Medication Administration” before you give any medication.
- Prescription medicine should be taken only by the person whom it was prescribed too, “never self medicate”
- Carefully dispose of outdated medication by giving them to your pharmacist “Never flush down the toilet or throw in the garbage“
- Wear proper protective clothing any time you may come into contact with a poisonous substance.
- Many cleaning products have toxic fumes, read the labels and use in a well ventilated area. “Always follow the manufacturers recommendations to avoid damage or injury.”
- Mixing certain household cleaning products, such as “Bleach and ammonia or household cleaners, can create toxic fumes that may be fatal if inhaled or exposed.”
WHMIS or GHS “Workplace Hazardous Material Information System or Global Harmonization System“
- Always refer to your MSDS “Material Safety Data Sheet” before you use a new chemical, cosmetic or pharmaceutical.
- The MSDS will provide you with all “Who’s, Whats, Where’s, When’s, Why’s & How’s” of the chemical you are working with to avoid exposure or potentially harmful effects.
- Check all warning labels before use and replace warning labels that are damaged or unreadable.
“For more information on taking the WHMIS or GHS course please consult your local First Aid and Safety school for course listings, WHMIS or GHS is now available for Online certification and you may not need to “attend” and in class portion.”
How to help with Poisoning:
- Check the area, once the area is safe, Check the person and ensure the persons ABC’s are present “Airway / Breathing / Circulation” REMEMBER – Wear gloves if available to avoid bodily fluids or exposure to the chemical. A particle mask or SCBA “Self Contained Breathing Apparatus” may be needed to avoid inhaling chemicals in the air “Never run into a dangerous area where you suspect poisonous gas, wait for the rescue teams who are trained to do so”.
- Call 911 and get an AED if you are alone, you suspect a Head / Neck or Spine injury, there is a motor vehicle collision, you suspect toxic gas, dangerous environment or the injured persons life could be at risk. “911 will link you to the Poison Control Center if you do not have the number.“
- Care for the Poisoned casualty by:
Always follow recommendations by your Emergency Response professionals and 911 Dispatch personnel. “Never endanger yourself or the victim, you may “not” need to move or roll the injured person“
- If there are other life threatening injuries, treat those first as quickly as possible with as little movement to the injured person.
- a) Determine the type of exposure the person is experiencing “Injected, Inhaled, Absorbed or Ingested“
- b) “Inhaled” Get the Person into fresh air, but “DO NOT” enter into ta hazardous atmosphere yourself to do so. Refer to the MSDS if available about treatments, listen to your 911 dispatcher for further treatments.
- c) “Swallowed” Check the packaging of the poison if available and refer back to the MSDS if available about treatments, listen to your 911 dispatcher for further treatments.
- d) “Absorbed” Check the packaging of the poison if available and refer back to the MSDS if available about treatments, listen to your 911 dispatcher for further treatments. – Flush the skin with cool running water for 15 minutes to “Dilute, remove and reduce the chemical reaction.
- e) “Injected” Check the packaging of the poison if available and refer back to the MSDS if available about treatments, listen to your 911 dispatcher for further treatments. – keep the puncture site lower than the heart if possible, have the person rest comfortably, “NEVER” suck out the poison seek medical aid.
- Kneel Beside the victim and place the victims furthest arm from you above their head.
- Place the arm closest to you across the victims chest as a protector arm.
- The Key is in their Knee, bend the nearest leg up at the knee.
- Carefully slip your hand under the hollow of the victims neck to support the Head Neck & Spine, at the same time use your forearm by slipping it carefully under the shoulder for leverage.
- Place your free hand on the Key Knee and gently roll the victim away from you by applying steady pressure against the knee and shoulder at the same time. The victims head should rest on their raised arm.
- To secure the position pull the key knee further up and bring their protector arm out to use the elbow to stabilize the position.
- Check the Airway to make sure their still breathing.
In any emergency just remember to Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!
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