Poison, Symptoms And Antidotes

When a person has taken poison the first thing to do is to compel the patient to vomit, and for that purpose give any emetic that can be most readily and quickly obtained, and which is prompt and energetic, but safe in its action. For this purpose there is, perhaps, nothing better than a large teaspoonful of ground mustard in a tumblerful of warm water, and it has the advantage of being almost always at hand. If the dry mustard is not to be had use mixed mustard from the mustard pot. Its operation may generally be facilitated by the addition of a like quantity of common table salt. If the mustard is not at hand, give two or three teaspoonfuls of powdered alum in syrup or molasses, and give freely of warm water to drink; or give 10 to 20 grains of sulphate of zinc (white vitriol), or 20 to 30 grains of ipecac, with 1 or 2 grains of tartar emetic, in a large cup of warm water, and repeat every ten minutes until three or four doses are given, unless free vomiting is sooner produced. After vomiting has taken place large draughts of warm water should be given, so that the vomiting will continue until the poisonous substances have been thoroughly evacuated, and then suitable antidotes should be given. If vomiting cannot be produced the stomach pump should be used. When it is known what particular kind of poison has been swalowed, then the proper antidote for that poison should be given; but when this cannot be ascertained, as is often the case, give freely of equal parts of calcined magnesia, pulverized charcoal, and sesquioxide of iron, in a sufficient quantity of water. This is a very harmless mixture and is likely to be of great benefit, as the ingredients, though very simple, are antidotes for the most common and active poisons. In case this mixture cannot be obtained, the stomach should be soothed and protected by the free administration of demulcent, mucilaginous, or oleaginous drinks, such as the whites of eggs, milk, mucilage of gum arabic, or slippery-elm bark, flaxseed tea, starch, wheat flour, or arrowroot mixed in water, linseed or olive oil, or melted butter or lard. Subsequently the bowels should be moved by some gentle laxative, as a tablespoonful or two of castor oil, or a teaspoonful of calcined magnesia; and pain or other evidence of inflammation must be relieved by the administration of a few drops of laudanum, and the repeated application of hot poultices, fomentations, and mustard plasters.

The following are the names of the substances that may give rise to poisoning, most commonly used, and their antidotes: