What to Do After an Accidental Medicine Poisoning


Did you know that 6,000 children are treated for accidental poisonings every year?

Prescription medications are important for helping you deal with health problems and alleviating pain. However, they are usually potent and this creates the possibility for misuse.

If someone like a child accidentally ingests a prescription pill, they can overdose and become medically poisoned. This is a terrifying scenario and you can only hope that you’re around when it happens to take quick action.

Speaking of action, you’ll need to know how to correctly handle accidental poisonings as you can make a few costly mistakes. To help prevent this, we’ll cover what you should do if you ever experience one below.

Determine the Circumstances

The first thing you should do is to determine the circumstances of the incident.

There are several different tasks this includes.

One of them is to evaluate who has ingested the medication. This means their age, gender, weight, medical history, known allergies, and anything else about the person who is poisoned.

You need this information because it’s relevant for medical professionals looking to treat the victim. With accurate background info, it’s easier to make a quick and effective decision for treatment.

This also entails evaluating what substance was ingested. In some circumstances like a nearby prescription bottle, this is fairly obvious. However, it isn’t always this straightforward and might require more digging.

If possible, you’ll also want to figure out when it was taken and how much. Getting as many details about the incident as possible is crucial to properly treat the poisoning.

Remove Any Lingering Substance

The next task you need to complete is removing any lingering substance.

If someone swallowed something like a pill, then there might not be anything left to clean up. On the other hand, something like a liquid or ointment might linger.

Should a medication linger, there’s the possibility that whoever’s ingested it might accidentally get more of it into their system. When someone is already affected, you want to do whatever you can to prevent any further impairment.

This includes cleaning any obvious medication still on them. Specifically, you should ensure that there is nothing in or around their mouth.

One important thing to keep in mind is that you should not induce vomiting. Some medications can be harmful when coming up, which makes it safer to keep the medication inside.

Apply First Aid

You also need to begin applying first aid.

Depending on what’s been taken, the condition of the person affected will vary. They might be conscious and dazed or unconscious and unresponsive.

If they’re conscious, then you should do what you can to make them comfortable. Get them a glass of water and ensure that they don’t try to do anything.

Alternatively, if someone has passed out, then more action might be required. You need to verify that they’re breathing and perform CPR if they are not. Keep them on their side and make sure that their head is cushioned.

At this point, you should consider calling poison control and informing them of the situation. If you have the facts of the situation, then they can provide you with more detailed first aid instructions for the specific medication ingested.

Avoid taking any further action without medical advice. You don’t want to accidentally exacerbate the situation and making this mistake is simple.

Seek Medical Treatment

Regardless of the victim’s condition, you should seek medical treatment.

This step cannot be skipped and is the most important in the whole process. To properly recover from the poisoning, whoever has ingested the medication must see a doctor.

You can choose to drive them to the emergency room or call for an ambulance. Consider whether you can safely transport them yourself and call for help if you are unsure.

When you see a doctor, make sure to tell them whatever you know about the incident. They need this information to make a diagnosis and determine what will fix it.

Even if the victim is conscious and seemingly okay, you want to be positive that nothing is wrong. There might be unseen damage or complications that arise in the future as a result of the accidental poisoning.

Preventing Medicine Poisoning

The best way to address a medicine poisoning is by preventing it from happening altogether.

You never know what the outcome of poisoning will be, but you can be sure that it’s never good. It isn’t worth the risk and will make a terrible experience for you and your child.

Medicine poisonings aren’t particularly prevalent, but they do happen and you can’t overlook them. Any medication that is in sight and reach of a child might be taken accidentally.

With this in mind, you should be keeping prescription medication away from children. Don’t make it accessible to them and only give them what they need when it is appropriate. Consider using a lock to ensure that nothing is taken.

Alternatively, you can also inform your child about the dangers of prescription medication. They might be curious and want to know what happens. Giving them the truth can dissuade them and help avoid a dangerous poisoning incident.

This comes down to understanding the dangers of accidental poisoning and taking measures to stop them. Consider your living situation and see if your medicine is in a safe spot.

Closing Thoughts

Medicine poisonings happen when someone ingests a prescription that they aren’t meant to. In some situations, this can cause an overdose and make someone ill.

This often happens to children who take prescriptions meant for their parents. It might be intentional or accidental, but it will affect them the same.

If a medicine poisoning does happen, then you’ll need to know how to handle it. A few steps to take include determining the circumstances of the incident, removing any lingering substance, applying basic first aid, and seeking medical treatment.

You should also prioritize prevention as it’s the most effective form of treatment.

A medicine poisoning is sure to be a terrifying experience, but you can manage it and help your child feel better. Take these suggestions in mind so that you’re ready if it ever happens.


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