Food & Chemical Poisoning

Food and Chemical Poisoning


Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is caused by consuming contaminated foods that contain bacteria, parasites, and/or viruses. It can also occur if you consume under-cooked or improperly prepared food. Signs of food poisoning can include:

  • vomiting
  • cramping
  • stomach pains
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • bloody stool

If you or someone you know has food poisoning, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids to replace the ones you’ve lost through vomiting and/or diarrhea. Typically, symptoms resolve themselves in a few days. If symptoms don’t resolve, seek medical attention.


Chemical Poisoning

Chemical poisoning can occur when someone breathes in or otherwise ingests certain chemicals. There are many other conditions which have very similar signs and symptoms to poisoning including alcohol intoxication, seizures, insulin reactions, and strokes. The signs and symptoms of chemical poisoning include:

  • burning and redness of the lips and mouth
  • the breath may smell of chemicals
  • empty medicine bottles around or a scattering of pills
  • difficulty breathing, sleeping, or talking

In cases of suspected chemical poisoning, contact your local poison control center. If you’re unable to reach them in case of a disaster situation, consider the following tips:

  • If it appears that the person may have been exposed to toxic fumes like carbon monoxide, move them out into the fresh air as soon as possible.
  • If it appears that the person may have swallowed poison, remove anything which remains in the mouth. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • If it appears that the person may have been poisoned by something like a household cleaning agent,  read the label and follow any instructions which are there about accidental poisoning.
  • If there is evidence of poison on the person’s skin or clothes, remove the clothes and wash the skin with lukewarm water. If possible, put them under a shower to wash off any additional chemicals until help arrives.
  • If the person stops breathing, start CPR immediately.


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