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How to manage poisoning at home

If there is something am very scared about as a mom is poisoning. It can happen any time. In fact, over 90% of poisoning in children happen at home. According to, children under 6 years comprise of 46.4 % of poison exposures, followed by adults at 39% and teens at 7.7%.  In the USA, 1 Poison case is reported after every 14.6 seconds. Meaning, poisoning happens all the time any day. 43.6 children for every 1000 children under the age of 6 are in risk of poison exposure.

So what is poisoning?

Poisoning is injury or death due to swallowing, inhaling, touching or injecting various drugs, chemicals, venoms or gases.

Potential poisonous substance in your house

Almost everything in your house is potential poison especially if consumed, inhaled, or touched. You may not be having sulphuric acid in your house, but you must be having laundry detergents, perfumes, paraffin, lotions, medicine, pills, insecticides, old batteries, shoe polish etc. Children are at high risk of poisoning because of their ignorance about the substance and the curiosity to discover the taste of moms pink perfume that looks like their favorite soft drink. Because they are small, children react very fast to small amount of substances consumed or inhaled.

Symptoms of poisoning

  • Burns or redness around the mouth and lips
  • Breath that smells like chemicals, such as gasoline or paint thinner
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion or other altered mental status

If you suspect poisoning, take note of the clues such as empty pill bottles or packages, scattered pills, and burns, stains and odors on the person or nearby objects. With a child, consider the possibility that he or she may have applied medicated patches or swallowed a button battery.

 What to do in case of poisoning

Poisoning can be fatal. Every poison is different in terms of chemical composition and hence requires different management techniques. Also, treatment is based on the age of the casualty. The first thing you need to do is call an ambulance. Be calm and composed and give correct information describing the symptoms and any clues with regard to the poison consumed.

What to do while waiting for help

It doesn’t mean that you should sit there praying and doing nothing. Every minute counts and any delays could mean loss of life.

  • Swallowed poison.Remove anything remaining in the child’s mouth. If the suspected poison is a household cleaner or other chemical, read the container’s label and follow instructions for accidental poisoning.
  • Poison on the skin. Remove any contaminated clothing using gloves. Rinse the skin for 15 to 20 minutes in a shower or with a hose.
  • Poison in the eye. Gently flush the eye with cool or lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes or until help arrives.
  • Inhaled poison. Get the person into fresh air as soon as possible.
  • If the person vomits, turn his or her head to the side to prevent choking.
  • Begin CPR if the person shows no signs of life, such as moving, breathing or coughing.
  • Have somebody gather pill bottles, packages or containers with labels, and any other information about the poison to send along with the ambulance team.


  1. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING-Some people give some syrups to induce vomiting. Research has shown that induced vomiting may cause more harm than good. Imagine if something is acidic, you will be burning the gut twice!
  2. Tiny objects like watch batteries- If you suspect that a child has swallowed one of these batteries, immediately take him or her for an emergency X-ray to determine its location. If the battery is in the esophagus, it will have to be removed. If it has passed into the stomach, it’s usually safe to allow it to pass on through the intestinal tract.


Prevention they say is better than cure. Some of these accidents can be avoided only if we became more careful.  Here are some of the prevention measures that you should take home:

  • Keep medicine in a locked cabinet and out of reach of children
  • Keep cleaning detergents in a locked cabinet and out of reach of children
  • Discard (or recycle) used batteries (like those in remote controls) safely. Store unused ones far from children’s reach.
  • Never tell a child that medicine tastes like sweets
  • Never put cleaning products in containers that were once used for food or drink.
  • Never put rodent especially (rat rat) on the floor where children can easily reach.

As always, thanks for reading this. I hope it will be helpful to you and your household. Share this with fellow moms. Am determined to save lives through basic first aid training every Tuesday for free. Yes…am that cool. All you need to do is like and follow my page and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay informed. Asante. See you tomorrow for Recipe Wednesday. 




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