When corrosive sublimate has been swallowed, the first thing to be done is, if possible, to get rid of it, either by means of emetics or the stomach-pump. If the poison has been taken on a full stomach, an emetic or the pump is the first thing in order; if the stomach be empty, it will be better to administer, in the first place, as much white of egg, or milk, or mixture of both, as the patient can be made to swallow, and immediately afterwards give an emetic. The white of eggs is the great antidote for corrosive sublimate, but it is of no use where the poison has been absorbed into the system, and if, after administering white of eggs, we neglect to procure its rejection, the compound that is formed may be destroyed by the action of the gastric juice, and left free to act with all its original virulence.
There is no efficient antidote or remedy for poisoning by phosjdiorous. Taylor recommends the administration of emetics, and of albuminous or mucilaginous drinks, holding hydrate of magnesia suspended. The exhibition of oil would be decidedly injurious, as this dissolves and tends to diffuse the poison. Saline purgatives should therefore be preferred.
When a poisonous dose of opium has been taken, the first object should be to remove the poison, and this must frequently be accomplished by the stomach-pump, as emetics are of little service when the patient has lost the power of swallowing. Dashing cold water on the head, chest, and spine, has been adopted with great success; in the treatment of infants, the plunging of the body into a warm bath, and suddenly removing it from the water into the cold air, has been found a most effectual method of rousing them. Severe whipping on the palms of the hands and soles of the foot or the back has also been successfully employed. A common plan for rousing an adult is to keep him in continual motion, by making him walk between two assistants. Above all things, the tendency to fall into a state of lethargy must be prevented. A strong decoction of coffee has been frequently employed as a stimulant to promote recovery, and apparently with benefit.
When this poison has been absorbed and conveyed into the blood there is no known antidote to its action. But if spasms have not already set in so as to close the jaws, we should, by the stomach-pump or by emetics, endeavor to remove the poison. In a case in which six grains of strychnine were taken, the life of the person appears to have been saved by the early use of the stomach-pump. It has been supposed that emetics would not act in these cases; but this is an error based on imperfect observation. In one case a man took three grains of strychnine, dissolved in rectified spirits and diluted sulphuric acid. He went to bed and slept for about an hour and a half, when he awoke in a spasm, uttering loud cries, which alarmed the household. Free vomiting was brought on by the use of emetics, and this, combined with other treatment, led to his recovery. The first step, therefore, in every case, should be to induce vomiting.
The best remedy for ivy poisoning is said to be sweet spirits of nitre. Bathe the parts affected freely with this fluid three or four times during the day, and the next morning scarcely any trace of poison will be found. If the blisters be broken, so ate to allow the spirits to penetrate the cuticle, a single application will be sufficient.
Extract the sting, which is always left behind by bees, and bathe the parts with cold water, or apply a good poultice of common clay mud. Liquid ammonia mixed either with the water or the mud, will prove of service. All liniments which require rubbing are bad, as tending to irritate the part and diffuse the poison. Above all, avoid scratching the wound.