Swallowing, inhaling, or touching a harmful substance can lead to poisoning. You can inadvertently come in contact with a poison through your skin, eyes, nose, or mouth. Effects of poisoning can range from short-term discomfort to serious, permanent, and even life-threatening complications.
If you suspect poisoning in Northern California, call 911 or seek emergency medical help at a Dignity Health North State. Call the poison control center at (800) 222-1222 to report your symptoms and receive poisoning first aid instructions while you await emergency assistance.
Know the Symptoms of Poisoning
Signs of poisoning can differ depending on the type of poison and if it affects your entire body. Sometimes, poisoning symptoms mimic other medical conditions or diseases.
Common symptoms of poisoning include:
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty breathing
- Chemical-like or unusual breath
- Burns, redness, or sores around the mouth
- Abnormally large or small pupils
- Drowsiness or confusion
Some poisons can cause damage to internal organs but give no apparent outward symptoms. Call poison control and seek medical care even if there are no immediate signs of trouble.
What Causes Poisoning?
Many items can lead to poisoning or a bad reaction. If you consume a large-enough quantity, almost anything can be harmful. Some substances are harmless for adults, but are dangerous for children.
Be mindful of potential danger from consuming higher-than-recommended doses of the following items:
- Prescription and over-the-counter medicines
- Vitamin supplements
Do not ingest these poisons:
- Automobile fluids, such as antifreeze and gasoline
- Certain gasses, such as carbon monoxide
- Household cleaners and other cleaning products
- Outdoor chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides
- Personal care products, such as nail polish remover and hydrogen peroxide
Some plants contain poisonous substances and can be harmful if consumed.
How to Handle a Case of Poisoning
Your local poison control center can provide some common poisoning treatment and prevention strategies. Some simple cases of poisoning can be managed at home. Others require emergency medical attention.
Poison control can quickly guide you to the proper care. For example, for poison on the skin or in the eyes, rinse the area for 20 minutes or until help comes. If possible, collect the poison in a sealed container and give it to emergency personnel in the ambulance or at the emergency room.
Please note that the use of ipecac syrup is no longer recommended by experts for swallowed poisons.
Our experts at Dignity Health North State define health as more than just the absence of disease. We believe in providing for the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of our patients. Learn more about our holistic approach to medicine.
Dignity Health North State provides emergency care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including help for poisoning, in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.