What to do if you Come in Contact with Poison
As March hits full swing, we find ourselves in the middle of Poison Prevention month. We wanted you to identify signs of poison and what to do in case of a poisoning. Here are the steps to follow if a poisoning has occurred:
- If the person inhaled a poison (like inhaling carbon monoxide), it’s important to get the person to fresh air right way. Once the person is in a safe location, call the toll-free poison help line at 1-800-222-1222 and you will be connected to your local poison center for further instruction. However, if the person is unconscious or not breathing call 911 instead.
- If the person has come in contact with poison and it has touched their skin (for example, spilling bleach on the skin), remove any clothing that may have poison on it. Once you remove the clothing rinse the skin with running water for 15-20 minutes. Once the person is in a safer situation, call the toll-free poison help line at 1-800-222-1222 and you will be connected to your local poison center for further instruction. If this leads to the person being in a life-threatening situation, Call 911!
- If the person has poison in the eyes (from splash-back from cleaning supplies for example), the affected person will need to rinse their eyes with running water for 15-20 minutes. While the person is rinsing their eyes, call the toll-free poison help line at 1-800-222-1222 and you will be connected to your local poison center for further instruction. If the person is in immediate, life-threatening danger please call 911.
- If the person has ingested a poison (swallowed unlabeled or tampered with medication), call the toll-free poison help line at 1-800-222-1222 immediately. You should not use activated charcoal, or any other product if you suspect someone has been poisoned as every poison is different and using methods that aren’t approved by a doctor or poison profession can worsen the situation. If the person is unconscious or not breathing you should call 911 immediately and bypass the poison control help line.
While these tips for things around the house are helpful, it’s also important to know what to do if someone accidentally eats something poisonous or is bitten by a poisonous animal. Here’s what to do if you’re out in the wild and may have come in contact with poison:
- If you or someone you know eats a wild mushroom, call poison help at 1-800-222-1222 right away. Only experts can tell the difference between poisonous and safe mushrooms so it’s important that if you or someone you know ingests a wild mushroom, call poison help right away. If the person is non-responsive, call 911 immediately and request emergency services.
- If you or someone you know eats a wild berry, call poison help at 1-800-222-1222 right away. This will connect you with your local poison center and they will help you identify the plant that may have been ingested. If the person has become unconscious or has difficulty breathing due to ingestion, call 911.
- If you or someone you know has been bitten by a snake, you will need to call poison control at 1-800-222-1222 right away. The experts at your local poison center will help you watch for symptoms and signs of a venomous snake. If the snake is determined to be non-venomous, you will need to wash the wound and possibly receive a tetanus booster shot. If the snake bite has left the person unconscious or unable to breathe, you need to call 911 immediately as this could be a life-threatening situation.
- A majority of spider bites do not cause much concern in the way of poison but some, like the female black widow spider and the brown recluse spider, can be a very real danger. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a spider, call Poison help at 1-800-222-1222 so the experts at your local poison center can help you determine a course of action. If the person bitten by a spider becomes unconscious, unresponsive, or stops breathing, call 911 immediately.
In most cases, you should call the poison help hot-line at 1-800-222-1222 and speak to your local poison control center’s team of experts to figure out the best course of action for your situation. If the situation becomes life-threatening and the person becomes unconscious, unresponsive, or stops breathing it is recommended that you call 911 immediately and request emergency services.It’s always important to have both numbers on hand just in case something happens. You can download a helpful chart for your reference here.