How to Recognize the Symptoms of Chemical Poisoning

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Recognize the Symptoms of Chemical Poisoning
Recognize the Symptoms of Chemical Poisoning

How to Recognize the Symptoms of Chemical Poisoning. Chemical poisoning is frequently the result of mishandled, misused or improperly stored industrial and household chemical products. If you recognize the symptoms of chemical poisoning in a co-worker or family member, you must call your poison control center, 911 or a doctor immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Physician
  • Poison control center

Spot the Signs of Chemical Poisoning

Recognize that the exact symptoms of chemical poisoning will vary, depending on the severity of the condition and the type of toxic agent causing the problem.

Get help for anyone who is having difficulty breathing as the result of chemical exposure. Respiratory symptoms will typically accompany a case of chemical poisoning in which the toxic agent was introduced to the body via inhalation.

Know that stomach cramps, vomiting and/or diarrhea are virtually certain to result from chemical poisoning if the poison was consumed orally and digested into the stomach.

Recognize that headache and/or blurry vision often result from inhaled or accidentally consumed chemicals. These are signs of serious toxicity and must be acted upon immediately.

Remember that large amounts of toxic substances in the bloodstream may cause a person to exhibit unusual or out-of-character behavior. They may seem listless, confused or intoxicated. Their movements may also be clumsy or uncoordinated, and the victim may complain of dizziness. Chemical poisoning that causes these symptoms should be considered life threatening.

Call 911 immediately if you encounter a person who has lost consciousness due to a suspected case of chemical poisoning.

Treat chemical burns by removing all clothing from the affected area. Use plenty of cool (never warm or hot), clean running water to flush the skin and dilute the chemical. Do not put any form of ointment or lotion on the affected area, but cover it with a sterile, dry cloth. Call for help.

Prevent chemical poisoning by educating yourself. Know the meaning of all chemical warning labels, and make sure you understand procedures for proper handling, use and storage of all chemicals you come in contact with. Always dispose of unneeded household chemicals, and do so in a safe manner.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember that you can't help anyone if you succumb to chemical poisoning yourself while trying to aid others. In such a situation, evacuate the premises immediately and call 911.
  • Treat all potential cases of chemical poisoning as medical emergencies. Depending on the concentration and potency of the inhaled or consumed poison, the situation may be life threatening.

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