Imagine going through life worrying about poison. Well, I do and it is willingly. It is my profession and I love it. I do research that helps people deal with toxins. It is not necessarily the most important aspect of my job, but I can teach you the best way to deal with touching or ingesting poisons of various kinds. Poison control is simple if you know the protocol. Most likely you will not unknowingly consume something dangerous, but your child might. Therefore, the first order of business today is to warn you about childproofing your home. You must lock up any cleaning solvents or insect sprays including those in the garage. While they smell bad, it doesn’t deter a curious tot.
For some poisons, there are antidotes that will stave off illness and death. You can buy a chart online. They include terrorist attacks in the form of biological warfare, but frankly I am not as concerned with that. One example is Narcan to counteract an opioid overdose. Yes, poison comes in the form of prescription medication. Meanwhile, if you touch anything toxic, be sure to wash the area with plenty of cold water (not hot). No need to turn the left handle – you can put someone on Water Heater Watch if need be. Just go with cool tap water as is.
When someone ingests a poison, immediately call 911 and don’t administer water, milk, or anything else. They will know what to do. Don’t take matters into your own hands or you could delay treatment. While waiting, you can read the product label.
What is most difficult for some parents is recognizing poisoning. There may not be symptoms. They usually find the child crying next to the product in question. “Mommy, my tummy hurts.” Don’t panic while you reach for the phone. The child will sense your terror. Never lose a moment. Look for violent pain and vomiting. In extreme cases, there will be convulsions, seizures, or paralysis. Try to stay calm and not frighten the victim.
There are three tips to mention in regard to poison control.
- Dispose of the culprit in case there are other children in the house.
- Stop the effects if you know how or as instructed by the operator at 911. You might administer an emetic like mustard, salt, and water to dilute a poison. Be sure to tell the operator the name of the product.
- Remedy the harm done. This is the role of the EMTs or hospital emergency physician.
Another tip is to notice bites, stings, and puncture wounds on a crying child. The “poison” might be bee or wasp venom or rust from an old garden tool. When you have offspring, danger lurks in every corner. A crisis should never happen if you anticipate in advance. As a family member or friend to help you check your house and yard. Remember, snail bait powder is out there along with weed killer and ant spray.