First Aid: Poisons

Standard first aid and CPR courses (offered through these providers), offered through credible providers, teach candidates to react to a variety of different medical emergencies. One of those emergencies is recognizing and caring for patients that have been affected by poisons. A poison is any substance that can harm and damage the body. Poisons can also be fatal. Prior to learning how to care for patients that have been poisoned, candidates must know how to deal with the environment in which the poison is present. If a rescuer comes into a scene where poisons are present and must provide aid to a patient it is important to react to the poisons first. If the incident occurs at work employees should comply with Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS) and follow safety regulations in place. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) can also provide rescuer(s) with information on how to safely handle the material and provide care for patients that have been affected by it. If the information is not available the rescuer should contact the manufacturer or supplier through a bystander if available.

Poison Classification

Poisons can be classified into three major groups. The groups are as follows:

  • Poison inhalation – these are positions that have been breathed in by the victim. These poisons cause injury by 3 major means. The inhalation of poisons can reduce the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood causing tissue hypoxia which can lead to permanent damage to internal organs and tissues. Poisons such as chlorine gas can irritate the lungs and impair the oxygenation of blood. A direct toxic effect on cells can specifically attack certain organs and cells within the body.
  • Poison ingestion – these are poisons that have been swallowed. These poisons can be especially harmful to the digestive system of the body. They can also be absorbed and cause damage and adverse health effects.
  • Poison through contact – these are poisons that affect the body through different means of contact with body surfaces such as eyes, skin, mouth, etc. Damage can occur to the skin and/or the poison can be absorbed and cause other adverse health effects.

Take Basic First Aid and CPR Training

Candidates enrolled in credible standard first aid courses will learn to complete secondary and primary surveys that help determine the cause of the poisoning. Rescuers will learn how to properly and effectively determine the history of the event and conduct procedures such as head-to-toe exams to search for other injuries that could have occurred.

To learn more about recognizing and providing care for patients that have been poisoned take a standard first aid course through a credible provider such as St Mark James Training. The material posted on this page is for information purposes only.

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