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Chapter 16: Poisoning

Introduction

 A poison is any substance that can cause injury, illness or


death when introduced into the body
 Poisoning is considered a sudden illness
 Between 1 and 2 million poisonings occur each year in the
United States
 More than 90 percent of all poisonings take place in the home

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Poisoning
 How Poisons Enter the Body:
 -Inhalation
 -Ingestion
 -Absorption
 -Injection

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Checking the Scene

 Often, the scene itself is the best clue that a poisoning may have
occurred. Factors to notice include:
 -Unusual odors
 -Flames or smoke
 -An open medicine cabinet
 -Open or spilled containers
 -Overturned or damaged plants
 -Drug paraphernalia or empty containers

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Signals of Poisoning
 The signals of poisoning include:
 Nausea or vomiting  Dizziness
 Diarrhea  Weakness
 Chest or abdominal pain  Irregular pupil size
 Trouble breathing
 Burning or tearing eyes
 Sweating
 Abnormal skin color
 Changes in consciousness
 Burn injuries around the
 Seizures
lips or tongue
 Headache

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Care for Poisoning

 The severity of a poisoning depends on:


 -The type and amount of poison
 -How and where the poison entered the body
 -The time elapsed since the poisoning
 -The victim’s size, weight, medical condition and age

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Care for Poisoning (cont.)

 General guidelines of care for any poisoning emergency:


 -Check the scene
 -Check for life-threatening conditions. Call 9-1-1 or the local
emergency number if the victim is unconscious or is having
trouble breathing
 -If the victim is conscious, ask questions:
 What type of poison did the victim ingest, inhale, inject or
come into contact with?
 How much poison did the victim ingest, inhale, inject or
come into contact with?
 When did the poisoning take place (approximate time)?

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Once Determined Poison

 -Remove from source


 -Check LOC and ABC
 -Care for life-threatening
 -If conscious ask more information
 -Bring any containers with you when you call
 -Follow Poison Control Center or EMS directions

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Care for Poisoning (cont.)

 Call the National Poison Control Center at


(800) 222-1222 or 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
 Give care as directed by poison control center personnel
or the EMS call taker.

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Inhaled Poisons

 Poisoning by inhalation occurs when a person breathes in toxic


fumes
 The danger associated with inhaled poisons makes checking the
safety of the scene important
 Notice clues at the scene:
 -Unusual odors
 -Strong smell of fuel
 -Hissing sound
 Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from a different
location

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Inhaled Poisons (cont.)

 A commonly inhaled poison is carbon monoxide. It is a colorless,


odorless gas
 Carbon monoxide exposure can cause death
 Pale or bluish skin color indicates lack of oxygen, which may
indicate exposure

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Care for Inhaled Poisons
 All victims of inhaled poison need oxygen ASAP
 Help a conscious victim by getting him or her to fresh air
 Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number
 If you find an unconscious victim:
 -Remove him or her from the scene if it is safe to do so
 -Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number
 -Give care for any other life-threatening conditions
 Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number if you suspect that
fumes are present

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Ingested Poisons

 The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


estimates that 76 million people suffer food-borne illnesses each
year in the United States
 Two of the most common categories of food poisoning are
bacterial food poisoning and chemical food poisoning.
 Salmonella is the most common type of food poisoning
 Botulism is the most deadly type of food poisoning
 DO NOT give victim anything to eat or drink unless medical
professionals tell you to do so

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Ingested Poisons (cont.)

 Signals of food poisoning include:


 -Nausea
 -Vomiting
 -Abdominal pain
 -Diarrhea
 -Fever
 -Dehydration

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Care for Ingested Poisons
 In some cases of ingested poisoning, the Poison Control Center may
instruct you to induce vomiting
 Only induce vomiting if instructed to do so by a medical professional
 Vomiting should not be induced if the victim:
 -Is unconscious
 -Is having a seizure
 -Is pregnant (in the last trimester)
 -Has ingested a corrosive substance (such as drain cleaner or
oven cleaner) or a petroleum product (such as kerosene or
gasoline)
 -Is known to have heart disease

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Absorbed Poisons

 An absorbed poison enters the body after it comes in contact


with the skin
 Absorbed poisons come from plants such as poison ivy,
poison oak and poison sumac, as well as from fertilizers and
pesticides used in lawn and plant care

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Care for Absorbed Poisons
 Care for a victim who came into contact w/a poisonous plant:
 -Immediately rinse the affected area
 -If a rash or weeping lesion (an oozing sore) develops, seek
advice from a pharmacist or physician
 -If a victim’s condition worsens, seek a physician
 Care for a victim who came into contact w/wet or dry chemicals:
 -Flush the area continuously with water
 -Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number
 -If running water is not available, carefully brush off any
dry chemicals with a gloved hand

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Injected Poisons

 Injected poisons enter the body through the bites or stings of


certain insects, spiders, ticks, marine life, animals and snakes or
as drugs or misused medications injected with a hypodermic
needle.
 Insect and animal bites and stings are the most common sources
of injected poisons
 Care for injected poisons will be discussed later in Ch17 and 18

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Anaphylaxis
 Severe allergic reactions to poisons are rare. But when one occurs, it
is a life-threatening medical emergency. This reaction is called
anaphylaxis.
 Anaphylaxis is a form of shock
 Onset of anaphylaxis can be rapid and the signals include:
 -Swelling and redness
 -Hives
 -Rash
 -Itching
 -Burning skin and eyes
 -Weakness

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Anaphylaxis (cont.)
 -Nausea
 -Vomiting
 -Restlessness
 -Dizziness
 -Dilated pupils
 -Slurred speech
 -Chest discomfort or pain
 -Weak or rapid pulse
 -Rapid or trouble breathing (can result in obstructed airway)
 -Coughing or wheezing

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Care for Anaphylaxis

 Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number


 Place victim in a position of comfort for breathing
 Comfort and reassure the victim.
 People who know they are extremely allergic to certain
substances may carry an anaphylaxis kit
 The kit contains a dose of epinephrine that can be injected into
the body to counteract the anaphylactic reaction
 In some cases, you may need to assist the victim in using his or
her kit

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Epi Pen

 Auto-Injector:
 Carry dose of epinephrine (aka adrenaline) to counteract
anaphylactic reaction.

 Both a kit and auto-injector are by prescription ONLY

PRACTICE USE

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Preventing Poisoning

 -Keep household products and meds away from children


 -Keep products in original containers
 -Dispose of outdated medications and household products
 -Use the poison symbol on dangerous substances
 -Use chemicals only in well-ventilated areas
 -Wear proper clothing
 -Immediately wash those areas of the body that may have
come in contact with a poison

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Closing
 Poisoning can occur in any one of four ways: inhalation,
ingestion, absorption and injection
 The severity of a poisoning depends on factors such as:
 -The type and amount of poison
 -How and where the poison entered the body
 -The time elapsed since the poisoning
 -The victim’s size, weight, medical condition and age
 For suspected poisoning call the national number of the Poison
Control Center or 9-1-1 or the local emergency number
 Follow the directions of poison control center personnel or the
EMS call taker
 Questions?

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