Poisons may be conveniently classified in three groups:

1. Corrosives, or those which act rapidly at the point of contact with the tissues, causing erosion. Such are:

Acids, alkalies, corrosive salts, animal and vegetable poisons, and gases.

2. Irritants, or those which irritate the tissues at the point of contact, and may cause erosions if concentrated for any length of time on the tissues. This group includes alcohol, ether, the metals, and some salts, carbon monoxide, phosphorus, and turpentine.

3. Functional, or those which act upon the function of organs or systems. Here we have aconite, belladonna, chloral, C02, gelsemium, lobelia, strychnine, opium, hemlock, mushrooms.

In group 1 death is usually sudden. If not immediate, then administer by mouth the antidotal treatment. Do not use the stomach-tube unless there is little erosion. Emetics are employed with great risk in these cases. The stomach-pump is always preferable, even with great erosion.

In group 2 the first thing to do is to insert the stomach-tube and wash out the stomach thoroughly. Emetics may be employed instead. Cathartics may be given and antagonistic treatment if necessary. Oils, milk, eggs, and demulcent drinks are useful.

In group 3 treatment should proceed according to the drug that caused the poisoning, and according to the symptoms that develop.

In poisoning from snake bite or scorpion sting, use a one-per-cent. solution of chromic acid locally, and give strychnine hypodermically. Use no alcohol.

In any case, keep cool; take one minute to collect yourself, then go to work. Command others. The result may surprise you, even in the most hopeless cases.

Antidotes act upon the poisons in the alimentary canal, and by combination or removal prevent their toxic action.

Antagonists counteract the effect of the poison upon the system, and may be used after its absorption, when antidotes are too late.


Characteristic Effect.

Antidotal Treatment.

Antagonistic Treatment.

Acids -Sulphuric. Nitric.

Hydrochloric. Phosphoric.

Local action - corrosive.

Alkalies - as Soda, Magnesia, Chalk, Lime-water, White-wash, Soap. Oil; Albumen; Milk. Demulcent drinks.

Stimulants. Opium for pain.


Rapid action - collapse.

50 % alcohol.


Lime-water; Syrup of Lime.


Vegetable demulcent drinks. No oil.

Atropine. Chloral? Stimulants. External heat.




Frequent accidental mistake - Epsom salt. 60 % die.

Stomach-tube. Lime with water or milk. Emetics. Bland drinks.

Stimulants. External heat.


Acts too quickly for any antidote to be of use.

Stomach-tube. Emetics.

Artificial respiration.

Stimulants, hypo dermically and by inhalation.

Cold water to head and spine.


A few drops kill! Tingling sensation.

Stomach-tube. Empty and wash out stomach.

Recumbent position.

Artificial respiration.

Heat. Atropine.

Hypo Ether, Digitalis.


Characteristic Effect.

Antidotal Treatment.

Antagonistic Treatment.


Acute - maiden-blush. Chronic - nosegay.

Stomach-tube. Emetics.

Cold to head; heat to extremities Inhalation of Ammonia.

Electricity. Coffee.

Alkalies -

Ammonia. Caustic Potash. Caustic Soda. Lime.

Dissolve tissues. Cause rupture or stricture.

Dilute acids.


Lemon juice.



For Ammonia- Aconite. Digitalis. Cold air.

Anaesthetics-Chloroform. Ether, etc

Produce sleep.

Remove anaesthetic.

Artificial respiration.

Inversion of patient.

Atropine; Strychnine.

Stimulants. Heat.

Antimony -Tartar Emetic. Wine of Antimony. Syrup of Squills.

Rarely used. Cause vomiting.

Stomach-tube. Wash out stomach. Tannic acid - as tea, etc. Demulcent drinks.

Opium for pain. Alcohol.

Arsenic -Fowler's Solution. Paris Green. Rough on Rats. Arsenous Acid.

Acute - "rice water stools." Chronic - puffy eyes.

Stomach - tube. Emetics. Hy-drated Oxide of Iron with Magnesia. Dialyzed Iron. Demulcent drinks.

Stimulants. Opium for pain.

Belladonna -Atropine. Hyoscyamus and Stramonium.

"Wild as a hare, dry as a bone, red as a beet!"

Stomach-tube. Emetics. Tannic acid.

Chloroform, Ether, Caffeine.

Artificial respiration.

External stimulants.


With alcohol -

"knock-out drops."

Wash out stomach with tea or coffee and give these per rectum.

Heat. Mustard applications.

Artificial respiration.

Alcoholic stimulants.

Atropine (carefully).


Hypodermic habit. Two grains poison.

Remove cause. Stomach-tube.

Alcohol. Opium. Chloroform. Nitrite of Amyl.

Copper. Bluestone, etc.

Causes vomiting.

Albumens - egg, milk. Wash out stomach after. Demulcents.


Irregular circulation.

Stomach-tube. Emetics. Tannic acid.

Recumbent position. Aconite? Stimulants.


Characteristic Effect.

Antidotal Treatment.

Antagonistic Treatment.

Gases -Illuminating. Carbon dioxide. Chlorine. Nitrous Oxide.


Remove patient from gas.

Fresh air.

Artificial respiration.


Oxygen inhalation.

Friction of body surface.

Gelsemium -Coniine. Sparteine.

Depressing heart and respiration.

Emetics. Stomach-tube.

Opium? Stimulants. Artificial respiration. Heat. Electricity.


Colored vomitus.

Starch or flour with water. Stomach-tube. Emetics.

Stimulants hypoder-mically.

Lead -Sugar of Lead, etc.

Acute - causes vomiting.

Chronic - colic, paralysis, blue gums.

Dilute sulphuric acid and lemon juice.

Magnesia. A1 b u -mens. Stomach-tube. Emetics.

Opium for pain. External heat.


Causes vomiting.

Tannic acid to wash out stomach.

Stimulants. Strychnine.

Mercury-Corrosive Sublimate, etc.

Acute - corrosive. Chronic - salivation, etc.

White of an egg to 4 gr. of the poison. Milk, flour. Stomach-tube.

Mushrooms (non-edible).

Lake the blood. Paralyze the heart.

Wash out stomach. Cathartic.

Atropine. Stimulants. Salt infusion.

Nitrate of Silver -"Lunar Caustic."


Common salt. Stomach-tube.

Opium -Laudanum. Paregoric. Morphine, etc.

"Pin-point pupils." Odor of breath.

Stomach-tube. Emetics.

Permanganate of Potassium.

Artificial respiration.


External heat (care-fully).

Coffee by mouth and rectum.

Atropine (with care).


Garlic odor.

Stomach-tube Emetics. Copper Sulphate. No fats or oils. Old oil of Turpentine.

Alkalies. Heat.

Strychnine. II


Tannic acid. Stomach - tube or emetic quickly.

Quiet. Chloroform for convulsions. Chloral. Opium.


Characteristic Effect.

Antidotal Treatment.

Antagonistic Treatment.

Addenda. Chlorates.

Depression. Lake the blood.


Stimulants. Alkaline drinks. Diuretics. Water.

Coal Tar Antipyretics - Antifebrin. Antipyrin. Acetanilid, Phenacetin, etc.

Depression. Lake the blood.

Stomach-tube. Stop drug.



Oxygen inhalation.



Stomach-tube. Emetics. Epsom salt. Demulcents. No oil.

Stimulants. Heat to abdomen. Opium for pain.