Most poisonings are preventable, and every effort should be made to
poison-proof your home. However, if someone in your home is exposed to a
poison the following information is intended to help you do the right thing
as quickly as possible.
Keep calm, Act quickly. Action is the most important factor in first aid if
you suspect poisoning.
Before you call for help:
Poisonous Fumes or Gases:
Immediately carry or drag the person to fresh air. Minimize your exposure to
the fumes. If the victim is not breathing, start artificial respiration
immediately and continue it until the victim is breathing or help arrives.
Send someone for help as quickly as possible.
Poisons on the skin:
Brush off any dry poisons and flood the involved parts with large amounts of
plain water. Then wash the skin with bar soap and water and rinse. Remove
and discard all affected clothing.
Poisons in the Eye:
Pour water from a glass on the bridge of the patient's eye and allow water
to flood the eye gently for 15 minutes. Use plain lukewarm water. Do not
allow the victim to rub his/her eyes.
Look into the victim's mouth and remove all tablets, powder or any material
that is present. Examine the mouth for cuts, burns, swelling, unusual
coloring or odor. Rinse and wipe out the mouth with a cloth.
When calling the Poison Control Center:
The Illinois Poison Center serves all of Illinois 24 hours a day, 365 days a
year. Staffed by nurses, physicians, pharmacists and other poison
specialists, the IPC offers free, confidential poison prevention advice and
treatment recommendations via a toll-free hot line, 1-800-222-1222.
Identify yourself and give your relationship to the patient. Give your phone
number in case your call is disconnected.
Describe the patient by name, age and weight.
If possible, have the container or poison in your hand and identify as best
What was taken?
When was it taken?
How much was taken?
How is the patient acting?
Be prepared to answer any questions asked.
Follow the advice given by the Poison Control Center or doctor.
How to Produce Vomiting
Ipecac is a plant extract that when swallowed causes vomiting. Vomiting will
remove the poison from the stomach. There are very few instances where
Ipecac would be recommended by a doctor or Poison Control Center. NEVER use
Ipecac without the advice of a doctor or the Poison Control Center.
Remember: Never produce vomiting unless instructed to do so! This is
especially important if the patient has swallowed petroleum products such as
gasoline, cleaning fluids, and lighter fluids.
Never produce vomiting if the patient:
Is drowsy or unconscious.
Is having convulsions (fits).
Has swallowed a strong corrosive such as Drano, Liquid Plumber, or acids. If
this occurs, give liquids only.
Antidotes that are recommended on many product labels might be outdated or
incorrect. In addition, salt water, mustard and water and many other home
remedies are ineffective and may be dangerous. DON'T USE THEM.
Don't give the patient coffee, alcohol, stimulants, or other drugs.
Call a doctor or the Poison Control Center before you induce vomiting. Give
Ipecac ONLY if directed by the Poison Control Center or your doctor. It may
save your child's life.
The Poison Control Center located in Illinois is staffed by pharmacists who
provide 24-hour emergency medical information on toxicology to the public
and health-care professionals. It also sponsors poison education materials