First-Aid Steps When Someone Has Experienced a Poisoning

Steps to take when someone swallowed a poison

Has someone swallowed a poison? Poisoning occurs when a person ingests, inhales, or comes into contact with a toxic substance. Whether the poisoning is accidental or not, the effects of poisoning can be serious. Knowing basic first aid for poisoning can be life-saving. Here is a guide on what to do if someone has been exposed to a poison:

If a person who swallowed a poison is not breathing, unconscious or having a seizure, call 911 right away.

If the person is conscious and able to speak, try to obtain information about what they were exposed to and call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222 to speak to a poison expert to determine the best course of action.

If Someone has Swallowed a Poison:

  • Gently wipe out the mouth and give a small amount of water.
  • Do not make the person vomit on purpose. In a lot of poisoning situations, making someone vomit can cause more harm.

If Someone has Poison on Their Skin:

  • Immediately remove any contaminated clothing.
  • Rinse the affected skin with running water.

If Someone has Breathed in Poison:

  • Get the person to fresh air.

If Someone has Gotten Poison in Their Eye(s):

  • Remove contact lenses.
  • Begin to rinse eye(s) with lukewarm water.

Contacting Poison Help

When you call Poison Help, our poison experts will walk you through these first aid steps. They will also be able to determine if there are additional treatments needed, and if the person can stay at home or if they will need emergency medical attention.

Preventing Poisoning

You can also take steps to prevent a poisoning emergency by storing household chemicals, medications, and cleaning products in secure cabinets, out of reach of children. Read and follow the label directions on all products, and be aware of the potential dangers of mixing chemicals. It’s also important to be prepared by keeping emergency numbers, including the Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222), readily available.

In any of the above situations, we encourage you to call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222 or use the Get Help tool for online assistance.