Poisoning for child

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Poisoning for child

It is important to recognise the symptoms of poisoning as soon as possible so that treatment can be given without delay.

Suspect poisoning if

You find a container that is out of place.

You smell a chemical odour on your child’s breath.

There are burn marks around the mouth.

The child develops sudden severe stomach cramps or convulsions not associated with a high fever.

The child becomes drowsy suddenly or lapses into unconsciousness.

Sudden vomiting with pain and, possibly, diarrhoea occurs.

What to do

Try to establish what the child has taken, remembering that if you panic she may be afraid to tell you.

1. Look around and try to find an empty container.

2. Try to establish how much has been taken.

3. Phone your poison unit or doctor, preferably after you have established what the child has taken. (See p. 304 for telephone numbers.)

General treatment for poisoning

1. If you are sure the child has not taken a chemical or petroleum-based poison (279), get her to vomit by putting your finger down her throat.

2. If this does not work, give her syrup of ipecac according to the instructions on container. If you do not have any, make her drink a glass of warm water in which one tablespoonful of salt has been dissolved.

3. Hold the child face down with her head lower than her hips when she vomits and show what she has brought up to the doctor.

Get her to hospital as soon as possible.

Common poisons include: rat bait, cigarettes that have been eaten, iron tablets for anaemia, aspirin, sleeping tablets and other medicines as well as plants and berries.

If the child is unconscious, make sure the airway is clear and start artificial respiration immediately. (See p. 267.)

Chemical poisons for child

These include: acids, alkalis, ammonia, bleach, battery acid, cleaning fluid, benzine, drain cleaner, furniture cleaner, floor cleaner, lime, motor oil, methylated spirits, paraffin, oven cleaner, paint stripper, petrol, pesticides, rust remover, toilet cleaner, thinners, turpentine, kerosene and washing soda.

Do not make the child vomit unless directed to do so by the doctor as this could cause more damage.

1. Wash away any chemicals around the mouth and wash the child’s hands.

2. See that she does not rub her eyes.

3. If there is any chemical in her eyes keep pouring cool water over them, letting it flow under the eyelids as well.

4. If you do not know what the poison is, give the child milk to drink to dilute the poison and coat the stomach. Give her as much as possible but do not force her to take so much that she vomits.

Alkali poisons

These include: detergents, caustic soda, washing soda, rust remover, lime, oven cleaner, ammonia.

Do not make the child vomit.

Give 25 ml vinegar or lemon juice in a glass of water or orange juice. Repeat if possible. This will help neutralise alkaline substances.

Acid poisons

These include: battery acid, swimming pool acid, spirits of salts.

Get the child to hospital.

Do not make the child vomit.

Give two to three glasses of milk or three tablespoonsful of milk of magnesia in a big glass of water.

Petroleum product poisons

You can usually smell these on her breath. They include: benzine, kerosene, cleaning fluid, lighterfuel, petrol, paint thinners, paraffin, turpentine, motoroil, liquid polish and diesel fuel.

Do not make the child vomit.

Get the child to hospital.

Give several glasses of milk to drink.

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