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First aid - poisons

bites; stings; glue; sniffing; medicine; chemicals; snake; insect; cleaners. ;

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What are poisons?

Poisons are things that can make people sick or even die if they get into the body or onto the skin.

Poisons can be:
* chemicals used around the house or garden
* drugs or chemicals from plants
* found in insects bites or stings
* smoke or fumes in the air, which may be breathed into the body

How poisons can get into your body

There are four main ways that poisons can get into the body.
  1. Through the mouth and swallowing it.
  2. Absorbed through the skin
  3. By injection – including bites and stings
  4. By breathing in, or inhaling (say in-hay-ling)
allergy

If someone has been poisoned - through the mouth

feeling sick * GET HELP from an adult or ring the Poisons Information Centre; in Australia the number to ring is
13 11 26. Take the bottle or whatever you think the poison was in when you go to the phone so that you will be able to tell the person at the Poison Information Centre what has been swallowed. They will know if it is dangerous and can tell you what to do.
* Do not give the casualty, (the person who has swallowed the poison) anything to eat or drink unless you are told by the person at the Poison Information Centre.
* If there is no adult around to help you, and the person at the Poison Information Centre says that what your friend swallowed could be dangerous, call for an ambulance (000 in Australia)
* Save the bottle or container that the person drank from or took the tablets from. This will be helpful to the doctor who will treat your friend.
* Do not make the person vomit (throw up) unless the Poisons Information Centre tells you to. Some poisons can cause even more damage if they travel back into the mouth.

If some one has been poisoned - through the skin

Some poisons can be absorbed (get into the body) through the skin (eg poisons from some plants, some chemicals used round the garden, and some cleaning powders eg dishwasher powder).

To care for someone who has been in contact with poison:
* Immediately wash off that area of their body with lots of water. You can use a fast running tap or hose. skin absorbtion
* If there is a powder on the skin that might be a poison, brush off the powder – use a tissue or cloth not your hand, then wash the rest of it away.
* Dishwasher powders are made more dangerous by water so brush off really carefully before using fast running water which will get the powder off without doing too much harm.
* Do not put anything on the affected skin unless you have been told to by the Poisons Information Centre.
* If the poison has made the skin red, sore or blistered, your friend needs to be checked by a doctor or nurse.

Sometimes powder or other chemicals can get into the eyes where they can cause a lot of damage.
ambulance If someone does get something into his eyes, wash the eyes with lots of water and keep on doing this until someone arrives to help you.

If there is no adult around to help, then call for an ambulance and follow the instructions given to you over the phone.

If someone has been poisoned - by injection

Poisons can be injected in through the skin in different ways.

1 By using a 'needle'.
  - If you see a ‘needle’, the kind that your doctor would use to immunise you against a disease, tell an adult about it.
  - Never pick up a needle, as it might have some blood with viruses in it, which can cause Hepatitis or HIV/AIDS.
2 Snake bites.
3 Insect bites.
4 Poisonous fish and other prickly creatures.
5 Poisonous plants like some prickly nettles or cactus plants.

For a snake bite.

* GET HELP!! Bring the help to your friend. Do not let her walk to help. snake
* Keep her still and calm.
* Don’t let her move around. Try to remember what the snake looked like so that the doctor can help your friend.
* DON’T try to catch the snake as you might get bitten too!!
* Wrap a bandage or cloth firmly over the bite and right down the leg or arm (whichever has been bitten), then back up again as far as you can go.
  - Use a stick, or something like that, to hold the leg or arm still
  - Don’t wash off the poison as the doctor may need it to find out which antivenom to use. (Antivenom is made from the snake’s poison to make the person better.)
  - If your friend stops breathing start E.A.R (expired air resuscitation) but only if you have learned how to do it.
  - See our topic "Snake bites".

Do Not Cut or Suck the wound like they do in old movies. This does not help.

For an insect or spider bite
spider * If your friend has been bitten by a funnel web spider, then you do the same as you would for a snake bite. (The funnel–web spider is the most dangerous spider in Australia and is found around Sydney.)
* With a bite by another spider eg a red back or white-tailed spider, the poison acts more slowly so you don’t need to wrap the arm or leg.
* You can put some ice or a cold cloth on the bite to take away some of the hurt and get help from a doctor.
 
* Have a look at the topic "Spider bites".
For a bee or wasp sting
* If your friend is stung by a bee, then flick out the sting with your finger nail.
* If your friend is stung by a wasp, they should stay very still until the wasp goes away, as a wasp can sting many times, especially if it is angry. (A wasp doesn't leave its sting in you like a bee does.) wasp sting
* For both a bee or a wasp sting, put an ice pack or a cold cloth on the sting.
* GET HELP if your friend is allergic to bee stings, and give her the medication she would have for bee stings.
* Stay with her until an adult comes.

If someone has been poisoned - by breathing in

If there is a fire, then lots of things in the home would give off fumes which could harm you. (See our topic on "Safety from fire" for more information)

Chemicals used in cleaning the house or in the garden can also make fumes which can hurt your breathing.

Some glues and even felt tip pens may make you feel dizzy and sick.

* Move away from the fumes.
* Go outside into the open air.
* Wash off any spray which has landed on your skin.
* Get help if you feel really dizzy or sick even after you have been outside for a while.

Dr Kate says

Dr Kate

Never put poisons into bottles or other containers which usually have food or drink in them. Many little children have been poisoned by drinking petrol or other things out of bottles which looked like a soft drink.

 

Kids comments

One day I was home and a family member left the petrol in a coke bottle. I decided to take a sip and I found out what it was …very quickly! Caitlyn

I know that I’m allergic to bee stings so I always carry my medicine in my school bag when bees are around in warm weather. James

I was stung by a jelly fish at the beach. It really hurt but mum put some Stingose on it and it didn’t hurt as much then. Kahla

I always walk loudly when I’m in the bush so that snakes will hear me and go away. Jed

Dr Kim says

Dr KimIf you’re going bushwalking wear clothes that cover you up, a hat to protect from the sun or rain (or from things dropping on your head) and good boots or strong shoes. If you are covered up it would have to be a really determined biting thing that would manage to get you!"

Put the Poison's Information phone number on the list of emergency numbers you have in or on your phone. In Australia the number is 13 11 26.


 

Poisonous biting things

Snakes are bad
They really bite hard
That’s why you should wear shoes
When you’re in the backyard.
Spiders are quite evil
They have tiny fangs
One has really long legs
Another has long fangs
Then there is the wasp
It’s really very bright
Watch it very closely
Or it will fly into your "Sprite"

Jess
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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.

 

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