If you suspect a poisoning, you need to act quickly. When you know the source of the toxic exposure, use the guidelines below to plan your response.
Poisonous Fumes or Gases
- Immediately carry or drag the person to fresh air.
- Minimize your exposure to the fumes.
- If the person is not breathing, start artificial respiration immediately and continue it until the victim is breathing or help arrives.
- Call 911 or send someone for help as quickly as possible.
Poisons on the Skin
- Brush off all dry poisons and flood involved parts with large amounts of plain water.
- Then wash the skin with bar soap and water and rinse.
- Remove and discard all affected clothing.
- Call 1-800-222-1222 to consult your poison control center. If you suspect a life- or limb-threatening illness, call 911 for emergency medical treatment.
Poisons in the Eye
- Hold eyelid open and drip room temperature water or normal saline over the bridge of the nose for a full 15 minutes.
- If the victim is a small child, you should wrap the child in a towel like a papoose (arms placed at sides under towel) and place the child on a flat surface or in a chair so you can control the child safely.
- Do not try to hold a child under the faucet or in the shower or tub. You should not use water under pressure. Do not allow the victim to rub his/her eyes. Do not use medicated drops, such as Visine.
- If you suspect a life- or limb-threatening illness, call 911 for emergency medical treatment. Information is also available from poison control at 1-800-222-1222.
- Look into the victim’s mouth and remove all tablets, powder or any material that is present.
- Examine the mouth for cuts, burns, swelling, unusual coloring or odor.
- Rinse and wipe out the mouth with a cloth.
- Call 911.
- Follow the advice from the 911 personnel.
If you don’t know what poison may be involved, use the list below to help when you call 911.
- Be aware that some product labels have outdated or incorrect information for how to treat poisonings. Home remedies don’t work either and may even be harmful.
- Look for signs to identify the poison: spills, odors, stains, changes in behavior, empty containers.
- Bring the bottle or container to the phone with you. Look in the victim’s mouth for tablets, powder, discoloration, cuts, burns or odors.
- Rinse out and wipe a child’s mouth. Keep the poisoned child within sight. You will be asked some questions about how the child looks or how he/she is acting.
What to tell 911 personnel
- Gather the essential information before you call 911 so you are ready to answer questions about the following information.
- Substance and label information.
- Victim’s age and weight.
- Existing health conditions or problems.
- First aid already given.
- Whether or not the person has vomited.
- Your location and distance to the nearest hospital.
- How the substance entered the body (inhalation, swallowing, absorbed through the skin, etc.).