First Aid And Treatment Recommendations | Illinois Poison Center 
Home Safety and First Aid Tips

First Aid And Treatment Recommendations

Nov 25, 2020
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A "poison" can be any substance that can/has given you or another person an unexpected or unwanted reaction. A "reaction" can be something as minor as a rash, headache, stomachache to something as serious as unconsciousness or even death. There's no issue too big or small just call! The call is confidential and free.


Treatment for a poison emergency will depend on the situation.  First aid steps will depend on the victim’s age, the size of the victim and the type of potentially toxic/poisonous substance. 


If the person is not conscious or not breathing: 


  • Call 911 right away. 
  • Take the potentially harmful/poisonous substance away from the person’s eyes, skin or mouth. Take the victim away from potentially poisonous fumes. 

Warning: Sometimes, it may be too dangerous to rescue someone from an area that is filled with potentially harmful/poisonous gas. The 911 operator will tell you what to do.


If the person is conscious and breathing:

  • Call 1-800-222-1222 right away even if you're not sure and only suspect that someone's been exposed to something potentially harmful/poisonous.  Do not wait for the person to feel, look or get sick.
  • Be ready to answer questions about the person’s age, sex, weight and health.
  • If possible, have the substance in question and/or its container with you when you call the poison center.
  • If you/the victim are told to go to the emergency room, take the poison or its container with you to show the doctor.


First Aid Recommendations


Poison in the Mouth:

  • Do not make the person vomit or give the victim anything to eat or drink unless the poison center tells you to do so.  
  • Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 even if the potentially harmful/poisonous substance was not swallowed.

CAUTION: Some out-of-date first-aid charts may contain incorrect treatment information. DO NOT give raw eggs, salt, vinegar or citrus fruit juices to induce vomiting or to neutralize the poison. These treatments are not only ineffective, but may be extremely dangerous.


Poison on the Skin:

  • Take off clothes that have/ might have a potentially harmful/poisonous substance on them.  Wash these clothes separately.
  • Rinse the skin very well with water.  Then wash the skin gently with soap and water.
  • Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.


Poison in the Eye:

  • Remove contact lenses if worn.
  • Rinse the eyes with water for 15 minutes.  Open and close the eyes while rinsing.
  • Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222. 


Poison in the Air:

  • Open windows and doors to let in fresh air.
  • Leave the area and move to a place where you can breathe fresh air.  Help others leave the area, but be careful not to breathe potentially harmful/poisonous substance gas/vapor yourself.
  • Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.


For more information about calling the IPC click here.   


Click here for a free Complimentary Packet (includes: first aid recommendations tear off sheet, sticker and magnet with the IPC hotline number).

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