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How to manage ricin poisoning

February 20th, 2015 | Posted by A. Jones in Poisons - (Comments Off on How to manage ricin poisoning)

Ricin is a byproduct of castor beans which is a toxic plant protein where there is no antidote. Terrorism or other criminal activity can be the source of ricin poisoning. Castor bean contains ricin which is toxic and not intended as food and should not be ingested. Ricin is made from the leftover mash after the castor beans are processed as oil. Castor oil is used for the preparation of leather products or an animal lubricant, but it has been used as laxative and taken orally in the past.

If foods contaminated with ricin or castor oil are accidentally eaten, it can cause internal bleeding, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, liver and kidney failure, circulatory failure and a rapid heartbeat.

If castor beans are swallowed, the toxic effects are not severe but it would be severe if the beans are chewed. Breathing the dust of ricin can cause nausea, difficulty breathing, cyanosis, coughing, weakness, muscle aches and chest pain. Just like with any form of poisoning, proper measures must be carried. All you have to do is register for first aid training today.

Ricin poisoning

If foods contaminated with ricin or castor oil are accidentally eaten, it can cause internal bleeding, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, liver and kidney failure, circulatory failure and a rapid heartbeat.

Uses of castor beans

The castor bean oil is odorless, quick-drying and water-resistant which makes it a good protectant. This oil is used together with plant-based oil varnishes such as linseed and tung oil. The dehydrated oil is used for coating surfaces of upholstered fabrics, leather as well as insulation and food containers.

Castor oil is the primary ingredient used for the manufacturing of nylon. Castor oil is an effective industrial lubricant particularly in motors and fast moving machinery.

Castor oil is used for manufacturing artificial fruit flavors. The oil is also used as a laxative and purgative in clearing the digestive tract and why taken by a spoonful, it can induce vomiting.

After the oil has been removed from the castor beans, the remaining seed hulls are compacted and formed into “cakes” and made into high quality fertilizers.

Treatment and home remedies of ricin poisoning

  • Wear protective clothing and respiratory ventilators when dealing with individuals that were poisoned by ricin.
  • Evacuate the area if there is presence of ricin and start decontamination procedure immediately by removing the clothing, cutting off the clothing not easily removed and then wash the skin with soap and water.
  • Use rubber gloves in protecting the hands and gather the clothing. Place the contaminated clothing in a plastic bag and seal securely.
  • If ricin was inhaled or ingested, seek medical help immediately. Avoid fluids and do not induce the individual to vomiting.
  • If eyes are exposed to ricin, rinse the eyes with water for 10-15 minutes, remove contact lenses if there are any and dispose them properly. Wash glasses with soap and water before putting them back to the eyes.

Outdoor Emergencies – First Aid For Jellyfish Stings

September 14th, 2014 | Posted by Aris Eff in Poisons - (Comments Off on Outdoor Emergencies – First Aid For Jellyfish Stings)

Jellyfish underwater can be dangerous, especially when they group up together and start sneaking onto their victims. Although not all jellyfish species are dangerous, it is a common problem for divers and swimmers wading in salt waters. Jellyfish stings are not always life-threatening, but their tentacles can release thousands of venomous, minute barbs that cause a painful and reddish rash to the victims. There are even cases where the jellyfish sting cause illness and severe allergic reaction throughout the body.

Important Things To Do Immediately

  • Get Out Of The Water As Soon As Possible – There is always the likelihood that you will get stung again. Take note that jellyfish always swim in groups, so it is advisable to stay out of the water right away prior to treatment.
  • Call Emergency Assistance If Necessary – Jellyfish stings can be treated if the victim or someone with the victim has enough knowledge about treatment techniques. However, there are instances when professional medical help should be rendered to the victim. Call an ambulance if:
  1. The sting has covered half of or the entire arms, legs, torso, stomach, genitals or face.
  2. The sting has caused allergic reaction to the victim, such as nausea and vomiting, palpitations, dizziness, confusion, lightheadedness and shortness of breathing.
  • Neutralize The Pain and Stinging – The way to stop the stinging sensation is to wash the affected area with saltwater or seawater. In contrast, tap water or fresh water can just worsen the condition by reactivating the stinging cells.
  • Remove The Tentacles After Washing – Recommendations from the Red Cross state that washing with vinegar and soaking the affected area with hot water for a couple of seconds could lessen the pain before removal of the sting. Tip: The warmest temperature is the actual temperature that can be tolerated by the victim, so let the victim test the water first to avoid scalds. Do not attempt to remove the tentacles with bare hands. Always use protective measures when doing this so that the sting will not likely affect other parts of your body, especially your hands.
  • Treatments For Less Severe Cases – For stings that are less painful, you can treat it with ice pack application as well as with OTC pain relievers. If necessary, you can also treat it with antibiotics.
  • Antihistamines Can Also Help – If the sting causes itchiness and reddish spots, you can help relieve it with topical antihistamines along with ice packs, and pain relievers.

Knowing some important basic first aid skills can help you during accidental outdoor emergencies. Learn more about first aid tips from


Related Video On Jellyfish Stings:


“How To Treat Jellyfish Stings.” WikiHow. Retrieved online on September 9, 2014 from

“Jellyfish Stings.” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved online on September 9, 2014 from

A salmonella infection

September 12th, 2014 | Posted by A. Jones in Poisons - (Comments Off on A salmonella infection)

A salmonella infection is a bacterial disease affecting the intestinal tract. These bacteria live in the human intestines and goes out with the feces. People are infected by drinking and eating contaminated water and foods.

People with salmonella infection will cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 8-72 hours but some people can recover for a few days without treatment.

Diarrhea due to salmonella infection can cause dehydration and needs immediate medical attention. A dangerous condition can also develop if the infection spreads beyond the intestines. If you want to learn how to manage dehydration, click here.


A salmonella infection can be caused by eating raw or uncooked meats, egg and some products of eggs and poultry. The incubation period is from seven hours to two days, and the infections are classified as gastroenteritis. There are several symptoms of these infections like diarrhea and abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea, and also fever, chills and headache, and presence of blood in the stool.

Salmonella infection

There are several symptoms of these infections like diarrhea and abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea, and also fever, chills and headache, and presence of blood in the stool.

Salmonella infections last four to seven days, but it will take several months for the bowels to return to normal. Some salmonella bacteria can cause typhoid fever which is a deadly disease.


The salmonella bacteria lives in the intestines of human, animals and birds, thus people can be infected by these bacteria by eating foods and drinking water which are contaminated by feces. Some of these foods include raw meat, poultry and seafood such as shellfish. The contaminated feces contaminate the raw meat and poultry during the butchering process. People will acquire the infection from eating seafood if it was harvested from contaminated water.

Another cause is eating raw eggs that are contaminated by salmonella bacteria. Fruits and vegetables that were washed with contaminated water can cause infection. The infection can also happen in the kitchen when juice from raw meat and poultry comes in contact with uncooked foods like salads.

Foods can become contaminated when prepared by people who do not wash their hands after using the toilet and changing the diaper of an infant or elderly.

Infections can also occur by putting the hands into the mouth after touching pets, birds and some reptiles that are contaminated by the bacteria

Treatment and home remedies

Salmonella infection causes dehydration and the treatment is by replacing fluids and electrolytes.

Taking medications like Loperamide can help minimize cramping but they prolong the diarrhea caused by the salmonella infections.

Drinking plenty of liquids or sucking on ice chips as well as using oral rehydration solutions for children like Pedialyte.


  • Washing of hands after changing a diaper, cleaning of pet feces, using a toilet, handling raw meat and poultry, touching contaminated birds and reptiles.
  • Avoiding eating contaminated raw eggs.
  • Store separately raw meats, poultry and seafood from other foods in the refrigerator.
  • Use two cutting boards in the kitchen, one for raw meats, poultry and some seafood and the other for fruits and vegetables.

Chlorine poisoning

January 27th, 2014 | Posted by A. Jones in Poisons - (Comments Off on Chlorine poisoning)

Chlorine is categorized as a substance that is utilized in preventing the growth of bacteria in water and also as sanitation for industrial and sewage waste. It is also used as a component in different home cleaning products. Chlorine poisoning can happen if an individual swallows or inhales the chemical. It basically reacts with water inside and outside of the body to form hydrochloric acid and hydrochlorous acid. Take note that both are very poisonous.

Even though you might be familiar with chlorine that is utilized in swimming pools, majority of incidents of chlorine poisoning is due to ingesting the household cleaners that contain the chemical. The products and substances that contain chlorine include:


Chlorine is used in swimming pools

  • Bleach products
  • Water in swimming pools
  • Chlorine capsules utilized in swimming pools
  • Mild home cleaning products

Symptoms of chlorine poisoning

Chlorine poisoning can cause a variety of symptoms all over the body. The respiratory symptoms include the accumulation of fluid in the lungs and difficulty breathing. As for the digestive symptoms, it includes swelling of the throat, burning in the mouth, throat pain, vomiting, stomach pain and blood in the stool.

Exposure to chlorine can damage the circulatory system and can result to changes in the acid levels of the blood. Additionally, it can also lower down the blood pressure. If the eyes are exposed to the chemical, it will cause burning and irritation. In worst cases, it can lead to temporary loss of vision. As for the skin, it can cause tissue damage, irritation and burns.

How chlorine poisoning is diagnosed

Since chlorine poisoning is quite common, it can be easily diagnosed. In some cases, children might ingest cleaning products that contain chlorine. This is difficult to diagnose since children could not tell what they actually feel. Children with symbols of chlorine poisoning must be brought to the hospital right away.

How to treat chlorine poisoning

It is important to seek emergency assistance right away if an individual is subjected to chlorine. Always remember not to induce vomiting unless it is instructed by poison control or a medical professional. In case the chlorine is present on your skin or eyes, simply flush the area with running water for at least 15 minutes.

In case the chlorine was ingested accidentally, the individual should be given water or milk to drink immediately, unless vomiting or convulsions are experienced. For inhaled chlorine, provide the individual with fresh air as soon as possible.

Once the medical professionals have arrived, it is important to provide the following information so that they can treat it effectively:

  • Weight
  • Age
  • Condition
  • Product ingested
  • Amount consumed
  • Length of exposure

Once the individual is admitted, the healthcare provider will monitor the vital signs and blood pressure. Activated charcoal, medications, oxygen and intravenous fluid might be given in order to relieve the symptoms and eliminate the chlorine in the body.


Bee poisoning

January 24th, 2014 | Posted by A. Jones in Poisons - (Comments Off on Bee poisoning)

Bee poisoning is basically a serious body reaction to the venom from a bee sting. Yellow jackets and wasps also have the same venom and can lead to the similar body reaction. In most cases, bee stings do not cause any serious reaction. Nevertheless, if an individual is allergic or had previous bee stings, they might experience a severe reaction. Always remember that bee poisoning entails immediate medical attention. Bee poisoning is also called apitoxin poisoning.

Who is at risk for bee poisoning?

Some individuals are at higher risk for bee poisoning than others. The risk factors for bee poisoning include:

  • Individuals living in areas close to beehives
  • Areas where bees are pollinating plants actively
  • Spending a lot of time outdoors
  • Previous allergic reaction to a bee sting
  • Intake of certain medications such as beta blockers

Adults are more likely to suffer from serious reactions to bee stings than children. Individuals who have an allergy to bee, yellow jacket or wasp venom should always bring a bee sting kit every time they go outdoors. A standard kit usually contains epinephrine that treats anaphylaxis which is a severe reaction that can make breathing difficult.

Symptoms of bee poisoning

The mild symptoms of bee sting include:

  • White spot where the stinger punctured the skin
  • Pain or itching at the sting site
  • Redness and minimal swelling on the skin surrounding the sting site

The symptoms of bee poisoning include:

  • Hives
  • Swelling of face, throat and lips
  • Pale or flushed skin
  • Headache
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Abdominal cramping and diarrhea
  • Weak and rapid heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
bee sting-first aid

The bee stinger should be removed carefully

When to seek medical attention

Majority of individuals who have been stung by a bee do not need medical attention. Simply monitor any minor symptoms such as itching and mild swelling. In case they do not go away or the individual experiences severe symptoms, it is best to call a doctor.

Individuals who experience symptoms of anaphylaxis such as difficulty breathing or swallowing, individuals who experienced multiple bee stings or those who have a known allergy should seek emergency assistance right away.

Treating bee stings at home

The treatment for a bee sting involves the removal of the stinger and caring for the symptoms.

  • Remove the stinger using tweezers or credit card just be cautious not to crush the enclosed venom pouch
  • Clean the sting site with water and soap
  • Apply ice in order to ease the swelling and pain
  • Apply hydrocortisone to reduce the itching and redness
  • Provide an antihistamine such as Benadryl for swelling and itching

In case the individual is experiencing an allergic reaction, call for emergency assistance right away. While waiting for the professionals to arrive, you can do the following:

  • Check the airway and breathing
  • Start CPR if needed
  • Remove constricting clothing and jewelry in case of swelling
  • Administer epinephrine if a bee sting kit is available
  • Position the individual in shock position if symptoms of shock are present
  • Keep the individual comfortable and warm

Individuals who love to spend time outdoors yet allergic to bee or wasp venom should always have a bee sting kit ready.

First Aid for Snakebites: Signs, Symptoms

December 23rd, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in First Aid Injury Assessment | Poisons - (Comments Off on First Aid for Snakebites: Signs, Symptoms)
first aid, snakebite

helping snake bite victim

Being bitten by a snake can be life threatening, but this is not always the case. Some snakes are not venomous, and hence most victims can survive the attack. However, it is important to know how to identify snakebites and the first aid steps to take when trying to help a bite victim.

Signs and Symptoms to Look Out for

Victims of snakebites need emergency medical help, especially in the case of poisonous snakes. How fast the victim receives help can mean the difference between life and death. Sometimes a snake may bite you when there is no one around to help. Whether a snake bites your or someone else, it is important to know how to identify this kind of attack. The main signs and symptoms to look out for are:

  • A pair of bit marks at the wound
  • Swelling and redness around the puncture wound
  • Serious pain around the wound
  • Blurred Vision
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Increased perspiration
  • Numb tingling on the face and limbs

How to Administer Snake Bite First Aid

It is imperative to dial 911 or call for an ambulance after a snake attack incident. The following is what one should do to help a snakebite victim as emergency help arrives.

  • Make sure not to panic. The victim should be moved away from the snake to prevent further attacks.
  • The activity level of the victim should be minimized. This will reduce the rate at which the venom spreads in the body.
  • The bite or wound must be placed lower below the level of the heart. This will also help to reduce circulation to the bite area.
  • If you are sure that the snake is not poisons, apply puncture wound first aid.
  • It is important to know what type of snake was behind the attack.  Hence, look at the color and shape of the snake so that you can give this information to medical personnel when they arrive.

There are certain things that could exacerbate the victim’s condition and hence you should avoid them. For instance, do not:

  • Suck out the venom with your mouth. Not only is this dangers to you but the bacterial in your mouth might infect the wound.
  • Take alcohol or a painkiller.
  • Apply ice on the wound.
  • Tie a tight bandage around or near the wound.
  • Try to catch or kill the snake if you are untrained on how to do so as this could put you in danger.

Keep in mind that is vital to help medical personnel know what kind of snake bit the victim. If possible, take a picture of the snake, as this will help the doctor to choose the right anti-venom. In case you live in an area where snakes are common, it is use to have a snakebite first aid kit around.

Lead Poisoning

July 5th, 2013 | Posted by Ibrar in Poisons - (0 Comments)

Lead PoisoningThis is a medical condition that occurs in humans and other vertebrates when heavy metal lead builds up in the body over a period of months or years. This interferes with a variety of processes and affects vital organs in the body like kidneys, heart, reproductive and nervous systems. Lead poisoning is especially rampant in children under the age of six years where it can severely affect their physical and mental development but sometimes become fatal.

Lead as a natural metal, is commonly available and is used in construction materials. However, long term exposure to it can cause serious health complications especially to unborn and young children because it is toxic and their growing body makes them more susceptible to absorbing and retaining lead. Exposure to high amounts of lead in adults too may cause lead poisoning.

Signs and symptoms

Babies who get exposed to lead before birth usually experience slowed growth and learning difficulties whereas in young children symptoms of lead poisoning include: loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, vomiting, irritability, constipation, sluggishness and fatigue. In adults however, one with lead poisoning exhibits high blood pressure, pain, numbness, decline in mental functioning, headaches, muscular weakness, memory loss, abdominal pain, reduced sperm count,  in case of a pregnant woman, premature birth or miscarriage.

Contributing factors

Several factors have contributed to the increase in lead poisoning in different parts of the world. These include age. For instance, infants and young children stand the highest risk of exposure to lead poisoning through chewing paint chips and touching lead dust during play. Living in an older home increases the chances of lead poisoning too, and certain hobbies like refinishing of old furniture might put one into contact with lead and finally, most developing countries usually have less strict rules with regard to lead exposure.


When one wants to treat any degree of lead poisoning, it is prudent to first remove the source of the contamination. Remove the likelihood of it causing problems in case one cannot remove lead from the environment. A local health department can recommend ways of reducing lead in the community. Avoid exposure to lead especially in children. For severe cases, doctor may recommend. Besides, to help in protecting one and family from lead poisoning, apply the following simple measures: regular hand washing, cleaning of dusty surfaces, don’t attempt to remove the lead paint by sanding, don’t remove an open-flame torch to remove paint and covering an old paint by painting over an old lead paint as opposed to removing it.

It is important to note that exposure to even low levels of lead can cause damage over a given period of time more so in children. The greatest risk may be to the brain development where an irreversible damage may be caused by lead poisoning. Nonetheless, in both children and adults, lead poisoning can cause damage to the nervous system and the kidneys. Very high levels of lead are known to have caused unconsciousness, seizures and death. Simple protective measures mentioned above should be adhered to in curbing lead intoxication.

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