Everything you should know about accidental poisoning

An accidental poisoning occurs when someone exposes him or herself to a dangerous substance unintentionally. When a poisoning occurs, it is essential to get emergency care as soon as possible. Fast action can be lifesaving in the case of an accidental poisoning. Here is what you need to know.

What substances are commonly involved in accidental poisonings?
Any substance that is toxic or that becomes toxic in large doses can be responsible for accidental poisonings. However, some substances are more frequently to blame than others. Accidental poisonings often involve:

  • Household cleaning products
  • Pesticides
  • Medications
  • Plants

When a poisoning occurs, bring the packaging for the toxin to the hospital, if possible. The more information ER staff has about the poisoning; the faster emergency care can begin.

How can I reduce the risk of accidental poisonings?
To protect yourself from accidental poisonings, never ingest a substance you can’t identify, and always carefully follow dosing instructions on medications. These steps can protect your entire household:

  • Always store medications out of reach of children.
  • Never mix cleaning chemicals without reading the labels, to avoid creating toxic fumes.
  • Avoid houseplants with toxic leaves or flowers.
  • If you use pesticides, wear protective clothing.
  • Educate kids about the dangers of ingesting household supplies and medications.

What should I do if an accidental poisoning occurs?
Whether you have accidentally ingested something toxic or someone in your company has, stay calm. Call 911 or go immediately to the hospital for emergency care. If there is time, gather as much information as you can about the poisoning, including the exposure amount, the substance involved and when the exposure happened. This information will help the hospital make treatment decisions.

In the face of a medical crisis, seek emergency care at Regional Hospital of San Jose, 24 hours per day, seven days per week. We’re here around the clock to provide access to cutting-edge diagnostics and specialty care, including our Level II Trauma Center . For more information about emergency care in San Jose, call (888) 762-8881.

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