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Last Medical Review: March 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed by Dr. David Costa Navarro
Poisoning (March 28, 2020)

Home poisoning accidents are most often caused by household chemicals, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, toxic fungi and plants. What you can do to avoid poisoning accidents mainly concerns children. Young children explore the world by putting things in their mouths.

Always contact the Poison Information Center or call 911

You can call 911 and request the Poison Information Center in urgent cases when you suspect someone has been poisoned.

A person who is unconscious, lethargic, has difficulty breathing or has seizures should go directly to an emergency room in a hospital.

Do not induce vomiting

Never induce vomiting without first contacting the Poison Information Center. Vomiting is rarely needed but on the contrary can aggravate the injury.

Medical coal

When you call the Poison Information Center, you sometimes get the advice to provide medical charcoal. Carbon binds many substances, including most drugs, fungal toxins and herbal toxins. Therefore, it can reduce the amount of toxic substance that enters the body. It is good to have medical charcoal at home, but never use charcoal without first talking to the Poison Information Center. Coal may be unsuitable on some occasions. Medical charcoal is available for purchase at a pharmacy without a prescription.

Important to avoid poisoning

Here are some tips to avoid poisoning children in your home:

  • Keep corrosive chemicals out of the reach of children, not under the sink. Examples of such chemicals are machine detergent and stopper solvents.
  • Do not pour poisonous liquids, such as gasoline or kerosene, into soft drinks or juice bottles. It can lead to confusion.
  • Keep an eye on the lighter fluid when grilling.
  • Place jars with lacquer naphtha immediately after painting.
  • Make sure that the child cannot get cigarettes, snuff, alcohol or drugs.
  • Do not place lamps with lamp oil at child height, for example on coffee tables.
  • Remove poisonous houseplants. Outdoors it is important to keep the little child under surveillance, as there are both cultivated and wild plants, berries and fungi that are toxic.
  • Store both prescription and prescription drugs in their original packaging in a lockable cupboard. Also, be sure to place drugs that must be left in the fridge in the cold.

Medicines that taste good or look good can be especially attractive to young children, such as liquid cough medicine or vitamins. Also be aware that relatives and friends can store their medicines so that they are easy to access, for example on the nightstand table.

When adults are poisoned, the cause is often drugs, alcohol or other drugs. Toxic fungus that is mistaken for food fungus can also cause serious poisoning. Therefore, only pick mushrooms that you know for sure are edible.

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