First Aid Basics: How to Deal with Poisoning via the Digestive Tract

It is important to carefully assess both the patient and the scene of the accident. Searching for evidence, asking the patient for information and smelling the patients breath are just a few ways to get an indication of what was swallowed. There are 3 main types.

1. If it is a corrosive substance such as bleach, window cleaner or Domestos, etc the affected person should drink large amounts of liquid  such as water, juice or milk, etc.

2. If the substance is a foaming substance such as washing liquid, sta soft, sunlight soup, then the affected person should slow ly drink a large amount of liquid.

3. For all other types of poisoning by food, plants or tablets etc, induce vomiting immediately.

Throughout the treatment, assess the patient at all times. If there is any disturbance in the patients vital signs, focus on the treatment of these instead of treating the poisoning itself.  Keep the patient comfortable in accordance with the level of consciousness and reassure him or her continually. A lying position with a slightly elevated head is recommended if the patient maintains consciousness.

Call emergency services immediately. Its important for the emergency service providers to collect all possible evidence of what could have been ingested. Keep packages, tablets, plants and especially any vomit.  If you do not know are in any doubt as to what was consumed or whether the substance is critical, the poison units of the hospital may be consulted.

NOTE: NEVER TRANSPORT A POISON VICTIM IN A PRIVATE VEHICLE, VITAL SIGNS MAY FAIL AT ANY TIME.

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