A person may be poisoned by injecting, inhaling, coming in contact with, or swallowing a harmful substance. According to the CDC, about 2.5 million reported poisonings occur in the United States every year. A package without a warning label isn't necessarily safe. Although symptoms of poisoning often take some time to develop, if you think someone has been poisoned, don't wait for symptoms, but get that person medical help immediately.
Many household items including medicines (for example an aspirin overdose), household detergents and cleaning products, carbon monoxide, some household plants, paints, insecticides, chemicals, and even some foods can poison if a person has inadvertent exposure. Depending on the poison, symptoms will vary, but include:
Nausea and vomiting
Tingling and numbness
Skin rash and burns
Loss of consciousness
Unusual breath odor
First Aid for Poisoning
Take the following steps if you suspect poisoning:
Check for ABCs, call 911, begin rescue breathing and CPR if necessary, and then call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for advice.
Try to identify the poison and do not make the person throw up unless you are advised to do so by the Poison Control Center (note that parents should not use syrup of ipecac at home anymore).
If the person vomits on their own, take measures to clear their airway, but wrap a cloth around your fingers before sweeping out the mouth and throat.
If the person starts having a seizure, protect them from injury by laying them down gently on a soft surface. Do not restrain the person; instead, turn the head to one side in order to keep the airway open.
Roll unconscious persons onto their left side in the recovery position (see Chapter 2) until help arrives.
Remove the person's clothes if any poison has spilled on them and flush the skin with water.
Call the Poison Control Center for anyone who becomes sick for no obvious reason, or is found near a furnace, car, fire, or in an area that is not well ventilated, because they need to be evaluated for poisoning.
For inhalation poisoning call 911, and only if it is safe, remove the person from the danger of the gas, fumes, or smoke. Open all the windows and doors to remove the fumes, while holding your breath or holding a wet cloth over your nose and mouth.