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Poisons And Their Antidotes

General Rules

Always send immediately for a medical man. Save all fluids vomited, and
articles of food, cups, glasses, etc., used by the patient before taken
ill, and lock them up.

As a rule give emetics after poisons that cause sleepiness and raving;
chalk, milk, eggs, butter, and warm water, or oil, after poisons that
cause vomiting and pain in the stomach and bowels, with purging; and
when there is no inflammation about the throat, tickle it with a feather
to excite vomiting.

Vomiting may be caused by giving warm water, with a teaspoonful of
mustard to the tumblerful, well stirred up. Sulphate of zinc (white
vitriol) may be used in place of the mustard, or powdered alum. Powder
of ipecacuanha, a teaspoonful rubbed up with molasses, may be employed
for children. Tartar emetic should never be given, as it is excessively
depressing, and uncontrollable in its effects. The stomach pump can only
be used by skillful hands, and even then with caution.

Opium and other Narcotics--After vomiting has occurred, cold water
should be dashed over the face and head. The patient must be kept awake,
walked about between two strong persons, made to grasp the handles of a
galvanic battery, dosed with strong coffee, and vigorously slapped.
Belladonna is an antidote for opium and for morphia, etc.; its active
principles; and, on the other hand, the latter counteract the effects of
belladonna. But a knowledge of medicine is necessary for dealing with
these articles.

Strychnia--After emetics have been freely and successfully given, the
patient should be allowed to breathe the vapor of sulphuric ether,
poured on a handkerchief and held to the face, in such quantities as to
keep down the tendency to convulsions. Bromide of potassium, twenty
grains at a dose, dissolved in syrup, may be given every hour.

Alcoholic Poisoning should be combated by emetics, of which the sulphate
of zinc, given as above directed, is the best. After that, strong coffee
internally, and stimulation by heat externally, should be used.

Acids are sometimes swallowed by mistake. Alkalies, lime water,
magnesia, or common chalk mixed with water, may be freely given, and
afterward mucilaginous drinks, such as thick gum water or flaxseed tea.

Alkalies are less frequently taken in injurious strength or quantity,
but sometimes children swallow lye by mistake. Common vinegar may be
given freely, and then castor or sweet oil in full doses--a
tablespoonful at a time, repeated every half hour or two.

Nitrate of silver when swallowed is neutralized by common table salt
freely given in solution in water.

The salts of mercury or arsenic (often kept as bedbug poison), which are
powerful irritants, are apt to be very quickly fatal. Milk or the whites
of eggs may be freely given and afterward a very thin paste of flour and
water. In these cases an emetic is to be given after the poison is

Phosphorus paste, kept for roach poison or in parlor matches, is
sometimes eaten by children and has been willfully taken for the purpose
of suicide. It is a powerful irritant. The first thing to be done is to
give freely of magnesia and water; then to give mucilaginous drinks as
flaxseed tea, gum water or sassafras pith and water; and lastly to
administer finely powdered bone-charcoal, either in pill or in mixture
with water.

In no case of poisoning should there be any avoidable delay in obtaining
the advice of a physician, and, meanwhile, the friends or bystanders
should endeavor to find out exactly what has been taken, so that the
treatment adopted may be as prompt and effective as possible.

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