|Hundreds of thousands of
children and adults are accidentally poisoned every year. It's important
to know how to respond correctly when you think someone has been exposed
to a chemical that could harm them. While eating or drinking toxic substances
are the most common means of exposure, poisoning can also occur from skin
exposure, splashing in the eyes and inhalation. Never assume that a chemical
is harmless when someone has been exposed.
Keep an unexpired bottle of Syrup of Ipecac and a bottle of activated charcoal suspension in the house. These are often used to treat accidental ingestions. NEVER GIVE EITHER OF THESE UNLESS SPECIFICALLY INSTRUCTED TO DO SO BY A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.
Post the number of the local Poison Control Center or your doctor by the phone.
Instruct babysitters or anyone caring for your child NOT to follow the instructions on a product container without calling a doctor or PCC first. Many products have outdated treatment instructions on them.
What To Do
1) Stay Calm. The call will seem to take a long time and it may seem that you are being asked lots of questions. Remember that PCCs are staffed by trained personel who know what they are doing.
2) Have As Much Information Available As Possible.
The individual's age, weight, medical history (allergies, medications, illnesses,etc.) and current condition
The product container if available. You may be asked to read the contents, name of the manufacturer, etc. off the label.
How much the individual ingested or how much skin was exposed.
Any actions taken prior to calling; e.g., flushing the skin with water.
The individual's current condition.
The most common items involved in poisonings are (prescription and over-the- counter), household and chemical products, plants and cosmetics.
Children under the age of six are at the greatest risk for poisoning. Color, smell and colorful packaging attract them they will often eat or drink things that taste bad simply out of curiosity.
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