Poisoning is one of the most common dangers that we humans have to deal with. from inhaling poisons like gases to swallowing poisons unintentionally; it is almost challenging to stop worrying about your safety.
At the beginning of this series, we did an introduction to poisoning so that our readers can have an understanding of what poisoning is all about. However, a brief history wouldn’t be a bad idea.
A brief history of poisoning
Poisoning is as old as the existence of man, and its repeated mention in history books go a long way to back up this claim. Poison comes in various forms and is used for different purposes. From hunting to pulling down mighty men as well as conquering kingdom, poisons have proven to be a powerful destructive tool over the ages. Nevertheless, a terrible as the idea of poison is, some poisonous substances have turned out to become a cure for medical conditions. I guess this goes to agree with the saying that almost all things are poisonous depending on the quantity consumed.
There are various kinds of poisoning. Food poisoning is one of the most popular because it is the most common in the century we live in. It is imperative to know that there is more to food poisoning than the idea of dropping poisonous substances in a person’s food or drink with the intention to eliminate them as we see in movies. Alcohol poisoning is also featured in this series and it one other kind of poisoning that young people fall prey to often.
The air we breath is contaminated with various unhealthy gases, and there is almost nothing a world filled with automobiles and other gas releasing engines can do about it. This has made gas poisoning a common occurence.
Demands, expectations and frustration that lead to suicide, curiosity and several other factors have made people intentionally or accidentally become victims of chemical poisoning. Just while you are wondering if that is all to expect from poisoning, drug overdose and then the consumption of fake or expired medications show up and become what we now know as drug poisoning.
In this article, I will be focused on swallowed poisoning. You will be exposed to what swallowed poisoning is, how to give a first aid treatment, and what other steps to take as you read further.
Almost everyone has to bother about swallowed poisoning, but the people who are most worried are parents. This is because children are in the habit of putting things in their mouth and you never can tell how toxic what your child is putting in his or her mouth is.
Swallowed poisoning simply means ingesting or consuming any poisonous substance. Some of the poisonous substances that are commonly swallowed or ingested include paraffin, medicine, cleaning agent, pesticides, poisonous plants, and even detergent.
If you have children especially those crawling and below the age of 6, you have to be very careful because they are usually very curious and want to explore by putting things in their mouth. Whether they are inside the house or outside you can never be too careful when it comes to monitoring your children, so they do not ingest anything toxic.
Even for adults swallowed poisoning is something to worry about. Especially with the numerous products, we use that unsafe for ingestion and also if you are dealing with a person who is suicidal. There are cases where people ingest poisonous substances accidentally and other cases where people get poisoned with these substances and unintentionally swallow them.
There are different symptoms that you have to look out for if you suspect that a family or friend has ingested poison some of those signs and symptoms include vomiting, difficulty breathing, nausea, diarrhoea, sometimes burn marks around the mouth, abdominal cramp, coughing blood, lethargy, convulsion, the person may or may not turn blue, confusion, seizure and many others.
Whenever you notice any of these symptoms, you must swing into action immediately as the person’s situation may be deteriorating very fast. There are a few first aid treatment you can offer to the person pending when you’re able to get professional help.
First aid for swallowed poisoning
If the poisoning occurred in your presence it would be very helpful if you took note of the kind of poison ingested by the victim, the amount of quantity of poison ingested, and the time the person consumed the poison as all of this information will be very valuable to the doctor. Call an emergency number immediately and provide all the information earlier stated including how the person ingested the poison and the person’s age and body weight if available to you.
If when you found the victim, he or she was unconscious and not breathing, make sure to do a CPR. But before you begin, clean the person’s mouth area and check for any other trace of the poisonous material. If possible, do the CPR with a barrier so that you do not end up ingesting part of the poison.
Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink because at this point you could be complicating issues.
Keep a sample of whatever it is the person had ingested even if it is an empty container or a tiny piece of the substance so that you can show the medical experts when they arrive.
A lot of people would advise you to try and induce vomiting but never make this mistake because certain poisonous substances especially those that are corrosive could cause more damage when you try to force a swallower to vomit.
Be open to the doctors and answer every question according to the knowledge you have like every single detail you provide will be useful to the person’s treatment. Do not be afraid or too tense to provide the details that are available to you.
Like I earlier said, you can never be too careful. However, there are ways you can prevent cases of swallowed poisoning in your home if you have children around.
Preventing swallowed poisoning in your home
Almost every home has poisonous substances such as insecticide and soaps. Make sure you use child resistance caps to lock all of such substances and keep them out of reach of children. Also, make sure that after every use you thoroughly wipe the body of the containers, so that in case your child or even your pet comes in contact with the container by mistake, they don’t get to lick any residue on its body.
Get rid of any poisonous plant that is in your garden or around your house. Children like to play with plants and even pets like to chew on leaves once in a while to ensure that you do not have any poisonous plant growing in your surrounding. If there are any specific plants that you love so much but you know it is poisonous, go for the artificial version of the plant instead.
Do not remove poisonous products or any product at all from its original park. Most of the time with tend to change containers because we feel more comfortable with some specific containers than the original ones that come with some product. While you may have good reasons for doing this, it is very dangerous. So, ensure all products remain in their original packs and are also kept far out of reach of children.
Keep all medicines in your medicine cabinet and ensure that you dispose of all outdated or expired medications. Also, whenever you have to take your medicine make sure your children are not watching because they might want to imitate you when you are not looking. Turn on the lights when taking your meds, so you don’t mistakenly overdose on them.
If you have visitors who might be carrying a poisonous substance, or medications tell them to keep it out of sight and reach of the children in the house.
If you must eliminate rodents or insects from your home, avoid using poisonous substances like insecticides or specific poisons for rodents. You can adopt natural methods like cleaning your house properly, or better still take a break from home with your kids and pay a company to fumigate your environment so that by the time you return there would be no more insects or rodents to worry about.
Do not forget that it is important to have the emergency phone number used in your locality so that you can easily get help if the need arises.
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Originally Authored By: Emmanuella Ekokotu