Swallowing a toxic substance can be fatal if undetected, which is why it is so important to keep dangerous chemicals and medications far out of the reach of children in the home. The signs of poisoning are similar to signs of other disorders and illnesses (e.g. seizures) so look out for burns or redness around the mouth and smell the patient’s breath. If it smells like chemicals, chances are high that they have swallowed something poisonous. Also, look out for bottles of chemicals, any empty pill bottles or any scattered medication. Any odours on the person’s clothing or on the surrounding furniture may also indicate that the person has swallowed poisons or a toxic chemical.
Symptoms may include vomiting, difficulty breathing, drowsiness or seizures but the person may be unconscious when you find them. If they are, check their breathing and clear the mouth of any remaining poison. If they are having trouble breathing, start CPR. If they are breathing normally, put the patient into the recovery position and seek emergency medical attention immediately. If the person is conscious, you may be able to find out what they swallowed. Find out what you can by checking the label of the bottle or container and follow any directions given. Dial 999 and take the suspected poison with you to the hospital.
When poisons may be swallowed
Children are more likely to swallow something toxic in the home or in another establishment which is why knowledge of first aid is so important. Swallowed poisons may include:
- Chemicals (such as disinfectant)
- Medications (including pills or liquids)
- Poisonous plants or fungi
The poison may have been swallowed if it was left in a place easy enough for a child to reach. If your child was at nursery and cleaning agents were left unattended, you may be able to file a compensation claim if your child becomes ill from ingesting the products. Similarly, if there has been a mix up in labelling at work and you swallow something toxic, you could be eligible to make a compensation claim for negligence.
Accident Advice Helpline is available to call 24/7 if you need advice from an expert regarding a personal injury claim. We believe that it is your right to file for compensation if you have suffered because of someone else’s negligence.