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Know these poisoning first aid steps that could save a life

Household poisonings can affect a person of any age, although young children are a high-risk group. These medical emergencies involve toxic levels of exposure to a harmful substance that may be inhaled, swallowed or touched. Time is of the essence when a loved one is suffering from a poisoning. The emergency care doctors at Good Samaritan Hospital encourage our neighbors to learn how to respond, just in case it happens in their homes.

Remove the person from immediate danger
If you suspect that an individual is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, you should move him or her outdoors quickly. If you’re unable to move the individual, open up all of the windows and exterior doors, and turn off the source of the carbon monoxide leak.

Someone who has ingested a toxic substance might still have some of that substance in his or her mouth. If so, try to gently remove it.

Call 911
You can call the regional poison control center if the individual is conscious and isn’t displaying symptoms, but may have come into contact with a toxic substance.

Call 911 without delay if your loved one appears to be in medical distress. After giving your location and the nature of the emergency, stay on the phone with the emergency dispatcher. You’ll be asked some more questions about the suspected poison, and you’ll be given first aid instructions.

Perform first aid
If the individual isn’t breathing, the emergency dispatcher can guide you through the steps of CPR and rescue breathing.

Some poisons cause toxicity through contact with the skin. Remove contaminated clothing and pour water on the skin to flush away the poison.

A poisoning may result in vomiting. You’ll need to keep the airway clear. Wrap some cloth around your fingers, and use the covered fingers to clear the mouth and throat of vomit.

Never attempt to induce vomiting, unless the emergency dispatcher instructs you to do so. Don’t give an unconscious person anything by mouth, and avoid administering any antidotes or home remedies unless instructed to do so.

Call 911 immediately if someone needs emergency care in the San Jose area. For general questions about our healthcare services, you can contact a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362. Good Samaritan Hospital has emergency care providers at our hospital around the clock, every day of the year.