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When to See a Doctor for Accidental Poisoning

Many everyday household items cause accidental poisoning, from eating tainted food to drinking too much alcohol. No matter the cause of poisoning, it is crucial to know the symptoms and when to seek medical help.

How to Spot Accidental Poisoning

Some common symptoms of accidental poisoning include:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Possible redness around the mouth or lips
  • Stomach pain

When to Seek Medical Help for Accidental Poisoning

Call for emergency medical care if the person has any of the following symptoms:

  • Blood in the stool
  • Chest pain
  • Extreme drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Losing consciousness
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Trouble breathing
  • Turning purple or blue
  • Unusual behavior or confusion
  • Vomiting blood

These indicate that the poisoning is severe and requires medical attention. And, if you are the one experiencing any of these, do not try to drive yourself to the hospital. Call 911 and get medical help right away.

First-Aid for Treatments for Accidental Poisoning

If you or someone you’re with ingested poison by accident, get emergency medical care immediately. While you wait for proper care, you can take some first-aid steps. These include:

  1. If the person is having a seizure or convulsing: Do not try to restrain the person. Instead, clear the area and ensure the person is not in danger of more injuries.
  2. If the poison is taken in through inhalation: Move the person to a space with fresh air immediately. That may mean taking them outside or to an open window.
  3. If the poison has been in contact with the skin: Remove any contaminated clothing. Rinse the skin with cool water for at least 15 minutes.
  4. If swallowed: Do not induce vomiting. Instead, remove any remaining poison from the mouth and give the person sips of water or milk.
  5. If the person is not moving or breathing: Call 911 immediately and start CPR if you have the proper training.

Get Urgent Medical Care

Accidental poisoning can be a scary experience. If you know what to do, you can help to ease the symptoms and get the person the medical help that they need. If you suspect accidental poisoning, call 911 right away. Or, you can also head over to any of UF Health's three emergency and urgent care centers in Jacksonville, Fla. We offer 24/7 care for all of your urgent needs, including accidental poisoning.