Poison, a term denoting any matter that may prove detrimental, and frequently fatal, to the life of animals, whether it be taken in small portions by the mouth, mixed with the blood, or applied to the nerves by friction of the skin, or other means.
Poisons are divided into vegetable, animal, and mineral; but, as we state the particular substances, together with their appropriate remedies, in their alphabetical order; and, having already given the general precautions in case any poison have been swallowed (under the article Antidotes), we shall at present add a few supplementary directions, to be followed in those situations, where poisoning has either actually taken place, or 19 strongly suspected.
I. In order to ascertain the nature of the deleterious matter, the remainder of the poisoned aliment (if any) should first be examined. The patient, as well as the persons present, ought likewise to be strictly interrogated, and the symp-toms accurately investigated.
II. The next measure necessary to be pursued, is to learn the portion of the poison taken into the stomach ; whether it was administered by mistake in medicine, food, drink, or in any other form. In this case also, attention must be paid to the symptoms, such as violent looseness, nausea, and vomiting, convulsions, swelling of the' face, etc.—Lastly, the time elapsed since the swallowing of the poisony and. the antidotes given, together with their operation, should be minutely inquired into, as well as the effects resulting from this unfortunate casualty, such as palsy, apoplexy, colic, etc.
Where poison has been recently swallowed, it may be discharged either by means of an emetic, or by tickling the throat with a fra-ther, and administering such a quantity of oil, mixed with milk, as the patient is able to drink. But, if the accident be discovered several hours after it has happened, emetics would be productive of fatal consequences : it will, therefore, be advisable to prevail on the patient to take large draughts of lukewarm water, milk and oil, and to resort to tepid bathing.