Home Important What is Poison? Types, Sign & Symptoms and Pre-Hospital Treatment of Poison.

What is Poison? Types, Sign & Symptoms and Pre-Hospital Treatment of Poison.

poison, types of poison, Sign & Symptoms of poison, Pre-Hospital Treatment of Poison, definition of poison

What is Poison?

Any substance that can impair or cause the death of cell structure or function that’s called poison.

  • People are affected differently by the same dose of poison.
  • Some people may have developed a tolerance to a specific type of poison; however, even a small dose may be lethal to others.

Poison can enter the body in four ways

  • Ingestion
  • Inhalation
  • Absorbed
  • Injection

Signs & Symptoms Of Poisoning

  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Altered Mental Status Or Coma
  • Seizures
  • Rapid Or Slow Heart Rate
  • High, low B.P.
  • Possible Dilation Or Constriction Of Pupils
  • Shortness Of Breath
  • Injuries To Skin discoloration, Burns, injection Marks, And Swelling)
  • Diarrhea

Pre Hospital Treatment For Poisoning

Move The Patient Away From The Source Of Poisoning, especially in inhalation and absorbed poisoning.

1. For absorbed poisons :

  • Remove patient’s clothing
  • Blot the venom from the skin with a dry cloth. If the poison is a dry powder, brush it off.
  • Flood the affected area with copious amounts of water.
  • Maintain an open airway. Administer oxygen per local protocol.
  • Perform an initial assessment. Do not perform mouth to mouth ventilation in inhaled or ingested poison cases. Use the Mask.
  • Call your local poison control center, if available.

2. For Ingested Poisons:

  • Give the patient one or two glasses of water to dilute the poison.
  • Induced vomiting is contraindicated in poisoning with hydrocarbons, strong acids, alkalis, and corrosives.
  • As per local protocol, give the patient activated charcoal – 2 or 3 spoonfuls in eight ounces of water.
  • Bring the suspected source; container, labels, or other evidence of the poison to the hospital.
  • Treat for shock.
  • Continually monitor the patient.
  • Transport the patient.

Some Important Types of Poison, its sign and symptoms, and Pre-Hospital Treatment

Ingested Poison

An ingested poison is that which is introduced into the digestive tract by means of the mouth.

  • In cases of ingested poison, all information should be obtained as quickly as possible while the initial assessment is performed.
  • Look for signs of spilled liquids, tablets, capsules, poisonous substances, or any container that can help you to identify the substance or source of poisoning.
  • Signs and symptoms of ingested poisoning may be related to the digestive system.

Signs And Symptoms Of Ingested Poisons

  • Burns, swelling or stains around the mouth
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Diaphoresis
  • Excessive salivation or foaming from the mouth

Inhaled Poisons

Inhaled Poison
  • Poisoning caused by fumes and vapors can be swift.
  • The body absorbs inhaled poisons very rapidly. The longer the exposure, the worse the prognosis.
  • You may need to use special masks to gain access to the patient in a hazardous environment.
  • Additional expert help may be required.
  • Signs and symptoms of ingested poisoning are more related to the respiratory system.
  • Though it is important to give care immediately, do not enter the scene unless you are sure it is safe.

Common inhaled poisons

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carbon dioxide from industrial sites, sewers, and wells
  • Chlorine gas (common around swimming pools)
  • Fumes from liquid chemicals and sprays
  • Ammonia
  • Sulfur dioxide (used to make ice)
  • Anesthetic gases (ether, nitrous oxide, chloroform)
  • Dry cleaning solvents, degreasing agents, or fire extinguishers
  • Industrial gases
  • Incomplete combustion of natural gas
  • Hydrogen sulfide (sewer gas)

Signs and symptoms for inhaled poisons

  • History of inhalation abuse
  • Chest pain or chest tightness
  • Burning sensation in chest or throat
  • Coughing, wheezing, or rales

Absorbed Poisons

Absorbed Poison
  • An absorbed poison is one that enters the body through contact with the skin.
  • Examples of natural sources include poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak.
  • Man-made sources include corrosives, insecticides, herbicides, and cleaning agents.
  • Signs and symptoms of absorbed poisons are more related to skin involvement.

Signs And Symptoms Of Absorbed Poisons

  • History of exposures
  • Liquid or residue on the skin
  • Itching or irritation
  • Rash or blisters

Injected Poisons

  • An injected poison enters the body through a break in the skin.
  • The break can be caused by a needle (drugs), an insect bite or sting, or puncture.

Signs And Symptoms Of Injected Poisons

  • Needle tracks
  • Pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site
  • History of bites or stings
  • Bite mark or stinger embedded in the skin
  • Numbness at the injury site after a few hours
  • Other symptoms similar to ingested poisons

Pre-hospital treatment for injected poisons

  • Use universal precautions and secure the scene.
  • Maintain open airway
  • Administer oxygen. Be alert for possible vomiting.
  • Protect yourself and the patient from repeated injections. Cut off patient’s clothing to protect from possible repeated insect stings or bites
  • For bee stings:
  • Remove the stinger together with the poison sac.
  • Use a plastic card and scrape the skin’s surface to keep the sac from breaking inside the patient’s skin.
  • Place a bag of ice or a cold pack on the sting.
  • Bring all containers, labels, or other evidence of poisoning to the hospital.
  • Conduct a physical exam.
  • Treat for shock.
  • Continually monitor the patient during transport.

Snake Bites

Snake Bites
  • These are quite common in certain areas. Signs and symptoms may delay several hours before presenting.
  • Death can occur quickly if the patient has an allergic reaction to the venom.
  • Treat all snakebites as poisonous.

Signs And Symptoms Of Poisonous Snake Bites

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness, paralysis
  • Seizures decreased the level of consciousness
  • Puncture wound
  • Pain and/or burning sensation around the bite mark
  • Blood oozing from the bite mark
  • Discoloration and swelling

Pre-hospital Treatment For Snake Bites

  • Use universal precautions and secure the scene.
  • Move the patient to a safe place.
  • Calm the patient and try to place him/her in a comfortable position.
  • Locate the bite marks and clean them with water and soap.
  • Use universal precautions and secure the scene.
  • Move the patient to a safe place.
  • Calm the patient and try to place him/her in a comfortable position.
  • Locate the bite marks and clean them with water and soap.
  • Remove rings, bracelets, and any restrictive garments from the affected extremity.
  • Do not apply tourniquets, do not make incisions around the bite marks, and do not suction the venom from the wound.
  • Treat for shock and provide basic life support as needed.
  • Do not give the patient any food or drink.
  • If possible, capture the snake for species identification.
  • Administer oxygen per local protocol.
  • Continually monitor the patient during transport.
  • Only anti- venin works as an antidote for a poisonous snake bite.
  • Anti-venin serum must be administered on the basis of three criteria:
  • Specificity (appropriate to the snake species)
  • Appropriate quantity
  • Within the shortest possible time

Alcohol Abuse/Poisoning

  • Alcohol is a drug with wide social acceptance when ingested moderately.
  • Abuse of this drug leads to alcoholism and serious chronic intoxication with great physical and mental deterioration.
  • A patient under the influence of alcohol can be dangerous to him/herself and to others.
  • If the patient allows it, conduct an initial assessment and physical exam, including an interview; the assistance of friends and witnesses can be very helpful.

Signs And Symptoms Of Alcohol Abuse/Poisoning

  • The smell of alcohol on the breath and/or clothes.
  • Staggering
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Redness of the face
  • Altered behavior

Pre-hospital treatment for alcohol abuse

  • Use universal precautions and secure the scene. Persons with alcohol poisoning can hurt others or themselves.
  • Verify whether it is strictly a case of alcohol abuse (determine if diabetic).
  • Per local protocol, allow EMS to decide if police intervention is required.
  • Monitor vital signs and stay alert for breathing problems.
  • Be alert for vomiting and take steps to prevent aspiration.
  • Protect the patient from injury without using restrictive means.
  • Give oxygen per local protocol.
  • Transport the patient.

Signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal (Delirium Tremens)

  • Confusion and restlessness
  • Altered behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Trembling hands
  • Spasms or convulsions

Drug Abuse

Drug Abuse
  • It is not necessary for the rescuer to know the specific names and the effects of each one of the drugs, but the medical first responder should have the ability to identify a possible cause of drug abuse.
  • The five types of frequently abused drugs are:
  • Stimulants: These stimulate the central nervous system, causing the user to become excited.
  • This group of drugs includes amphetamines, cocaine, caffeine, asthmatic drugs, and vasoconstrictive drugs.
  • Depressants: These depress the central nervous system and include non-barbiturate sedatives, diazepam, bromazepam, lorazepam, methaqualone, paraldehyde, barbiturates (pentobarbital,
  • Phenobarbital, Secobarbital) and anticonvulsants.
  • These reduce pulse and breathing, cause drowsiness, and slow the reflexes.
  • Analgesic narcotics (opium-derivatives): Their use produces an intense state of relaxation.
  • Some are easily obtainable, such as codeine found in cough syrups. Morphine, heroin, and Demerol belong to this group of drugs.
  • These drugs reduce body temperature, slow the pulse and breathing, relax the muscles, and cause pupil dilation, drowsiness, and sluggishness.
  • Hallucinogens: These drugs alter personality and distort perception.
  • They include LSD, PCP, STP, mescaline, peyote, and psilocybin.
  • Marijuana also has some hallucinogenic properties.
  • Patients often imagine hearing unusual sounds and seeing strange colors.
  • Persons using hallucinogens can become aggressive and pose a threat to you, others, and themselves.
  • Volatile chemicals: The vapors of certain chemical substances cause excitement, euphoria, or the sensation of flying.
  • In general, these chemicals are solvents, cleaning fluids, glues, and gasoline.
  • The effects are temporary loss of reality, loss of the sense of smell, accelerated pulse and breathing, and possible coma.

Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Abuse

  • Relaxed muscles
  • Constricted or dilated pupils
  • Distorted perception
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Euphoria

Pre-hospital treatment for drug abuse

  • Use universal precautions and secure the scene. When speaking with the patient, be tactful, and ask directly if he/she is taking any “medication.”
  • Provide basic life support.
  • Induce vomiting if the patient is conscious and if the overdose was taken orally within the last 30 minutes.
  • If the patient is hyperactive, apply restraints to prevent self-injury and injury to others.
  • Speak with the patient to win his/her trust and to monitor the level of consciousness.
  • Monitor the patient’s breathing carefully because sedatives can cause slow breathing and lead to possible respiratory arrest.
  • Comfort the patient and provide emotional support.
  • Watch for allergic reactions.
  • Keep all evidence of drug abuse.
  • Call your local poison control center, if available.
  • Administer oxygen per local protocol.
  • Transport the patient.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here