POISONING,ACUTE.-In a case of poisoning the most valuable thing in an attendant is presence of mind. Let the coolest direct the rest. Send one for a medical man; let another procure whites of eggs and beat then into a froth;another make a gruel. Have also soap-suds made of white Castile soap, magnesia, sugar, salt, ground mustard, vinegar, sweet oil.
Find out, if possible, what the poison is, and, if you cannot, proceed to work without knowing.
Secure all that is left of the food of which the patient has recently partaken, and preserve everything he vomits.
The first indication is to make the patient vomit the poison he has taken, and, if the poison is known, to neutralise its effect.
If you do not know what the poison is, endeavour to make him vomit. Give large quantities of lukewarm water. If this does not succeed, take a long feather, peacock’s if possible, dip it in oil, and pass it to the back of the patient’s mouth, turning it round and round. If this fails to make him vomit, and he cannot be made to swallow freely, put a mixture of salt and mustard on his tongue.
When he has vomited all that he can, antidotes must be given.
If the poison is not known, and there is much pain, give water and white of egg largely. If there is insensibility, give strong, black coffee frequently. As soon as the poison is ascertained, proceed at once to give antidotes. If it is an acid, give magnesia in water or soap-suds;if a metal, white eggs or soap-suds; if an alkali, vinegar-and-water or lemon-juice, or the juice or sour fruit. If it is a metallic poison(as Arsenic, or copper salt, or corrosive sublimate), give(1)white of eggs and water,(2) sugar and water,(3)soap-suds, or(4)milk. The first is generally the best, but if not immediately at hand give one of the others named. After a good quantity has been taken, give mustard-and-water to make him vomit again, and then more of the antidote. Finally give castor oil, to purge out of the intestines any that may remain there.
For Lead, give pure Epsom salt or Glauber’s salt;then white of egg, or soap-suds, or milk.
For Nitrate of Silver (Lunar Caustic), give common salt dissolved in lukewarm water;then milk, gruel, or mucilaginous drinks, as linseed tea.
For Phosphorus, excite vomiting speedily, and then give mucilaginous drinks or white or egg;then coffee without milk. Later on give magnesia in solution. Fats and oils of all kinds, including milk, must be avoided, as they dissolve phosphorus.
For Prussic acid or Cyanide of Potash (used by photographers), excite vomiting at once. Pour cold water over the back of the neck;then let the patient smell of smelling-salts held at a distance, and give a little sal-volatile in water. Have black coffee made, and let him drink freely of it, and give it in injection. For Vitrol (Sulphuric acid), give sugar and warm water, or white of egg dissolved in cold water, until the patient has vomited freely;afterwards, mucilaginous drinks.
For Carbolic acid, give soap-suds immediately and persistently, and make the patient vomit.
For narcotic drugs, such as Aconite, Poisonous Mushroom (Agaricus), Belladonna, opium, and Strychnine or Nux vomica, first make the patient vomit as speedily as possible, giving large drinks of warm water to assist the vomiting and dilute the poison.
For Aconite, give vinegar, and, if there is much collapse, brandy.
For Agaricus, give Epsom salts or Glauber’s salts, and let the patient smell of smelling salts, bit not placed too near. For Belladonna and Opium, and drugs causing stupor, give coffee in large quantities, and keep the patient awake by constantly walking him about between two attendants, slapping the face with towels dipped in cold water, and talking to him. For Camphor, give coffee. For Nux vomica, strychnine, and other vegetable poisons, let the patient smell camphor, or drink coffee. If they cause stupefactions, give vinegar-and water; if they cause much pain, soap-suds, and milk.
For Poisonous meat, such as sausages, which cause much pain inwardly, stupefaction and paralysis coming on within a few hours after the meal, causing vomiting as speedily as possible, and then give lemon-juice and water or vinegar-and-water. Alternate these drinks with a drop of oil of turpentine on a lump of sugar.