Children have a habit of getting into things they shouldn’t, no matter how well you hide harmful substances away. Knowing how to handle a situation where your child has ingested, touched, or inhaled a poisonous substance makes a huge difference in how serious the outcome might be.
While you should always do your best to store poisonous and toxic items away from children, accidents do happen, and you need to be prepared. A few simple measures taken in the first few minutes or seconds after exposure can limit the effects.
Here is how to treat poisoning – what to do before you get to see a doctor.
If your child or family member swallows a toxic item, such as cleaning products or insect repellent, you need to get them to drink some milk immediately. Get them to drink a small amount of milk or water if the following happens:
- The product is causing burning and irritation, or it is caustic
- The person is conscious and is able to swallow and is not experiencing convulsions
Once they have had a few sips of milk or water, phone your local poison control to ask for further advice. If the symptoms are severe, head straight to the emergency room.
Poison In The Eye
If any toxic or poisonous products are exposed or dropped into the eyes, you need to take immediate action.
Rinse out and irrigate the eyes straight away. Do not delay, any delay in rinsing the eye could result in a varying degree of sight loss. If wearing any contact lenses, remove them before rinsing.
Rinse the eyes using room temperature water and keep rinsing for up to 20 minutes.
For children, it might be easier to wrap them in a blanket or towel and hold them under the faucet in the sink, allowing the water to hit the bridge of their nose and run into their eyes.
After 15 or 20 minutes have passed, call poison control for further advice. If the symptoms are severe, head straight to the emergency room.
Poison On The Skin
For when poison or a harmful chemical is accidentally spilled on the skin, you need to rinse the skin straight away. Remove any clothing that might have the harmful substance on. Do not delay and start rinsing the area under room-temperature water for at least 15 minutes.
If the spill is quite large, it might be better to jump into the shower to rinse off. You could use mild hand soap to remove any chemicals or substances that stick to the skin, however, if this causes more pain rather just use water.
Once you have rinsed the area for 15 minutes, call poison control for further advice. If the symptoms are severe, head straight to the emergency room.
If a poison is inhaled, the first step is to breathe in fresh air immediately. Move your child or yourself away from any toxic fumes and gases, and make sure the area can be ventilated well.
After you have moved to a well-ventilated area with fresh air, call poison control, and ask for further advice. If the symptoms are severe, head straight to the emergency room.
The Poison Information Centre can be contacted on 131 126, every day 24 hours.