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How should I care for someone who has been poisoned?

After you have checked the scene and determined that there has been a poisoning, follow these general care guidelines:
  • Remove the person from the source of poison if the scene is dangerous. Do this only if you are able to without endangering yourself.
  • Check the person’s level of consciousness and breathing.
  • Care for any life-threatening conditions.
  • If the person is conscious, ask questions to get more information.
  • Look for any containers and take them with you to the telephone.
  • Call the National Poison Control Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.
  • Follow the directions of the National Poison Control Center Hotline call taker.
  • Do not give the person anything to eat or drink unless medical professionals tell you to do so. If you do not know what the poison was and the person vomits, save some of the vomit. The hospital may analyze it to identify the poison.
The most important thing to do for someone who has been poisoned is to make sure the person is breathing, has a clear airway and is acting like him- or herself. If not, call 911 immediately for help. If the person does not seem to be having trouble breathing and is acting normal, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. This is a dedicated hotline with trained medical professionals and toxicologists who answer the phone 24/7 regarding accidental and intentional ingestions of poisonous substances. They will be able to direct you towards what interventions need to take place and advise on whether you need to seek immediate medical attention.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.