Home arrow About Yoga arrow First Aid arrow Yoga & First aid - Poison

Yoga & First aid - Poison

A poison is a substance that causes injury or illness when it gets into a person's body. The four ways a person can be poisoned are: ingestion (swallowing it), inhalation (breathing it), absorption (absorbing it through the skin), and injection (by having it injected into the body). Ingested poisons include foods, alcohol, medication, household and garden items, and certain plants. Inhaled poisons may be gases, like carbon monoxide from car exhaust, carbon dioxide from sewers, and chlorine from a pool, or fumes from household products like glue, paint, cleaners, or drugs. Absorbed poisons enter the body through the skin; they may come from plants, fertilizers or pesticides. Injected poisons enter the body through bites or stings of insects, spiders, ticks, marine life, snakes, and other animals, or medications injected with a hypodermic needle.


If you suspect that someone has been poisoned, call your Poison Control Center or EMS immediately. Signs of poisoning are: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chest or abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, changes in consciousness, seizures, or burns around the lips or tongue or on the skin. If you believe someone may have swallowed a poison, try to determine what type of poison was ingested, how much was taken, and when it was taken. If you find a container, bring it to the telephone with you when you make your emergency call. Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink unless medical professionals tell you to. If you are unsure of what the poison was and the victim vomits, sauce some of it so that the hospital may analyze it and determine what the poison was.


If you suspect that someone has been poisoned, call your Poison Control Center or EMS immediately. Signs of poisoning by inhalation may include pale or bluish skin. Remove the victim from the source of the toxic fumes so he or she can get some fresh air as soon as possible.


If you suspect that someone has been poisoned, call your Poison Control Center or EMS immediately. If poison, such as dry or wet chemicals, gets on the skin, flush the area with large amounts of water, and continue flushing the area with water until EMS arrives. If you have simply had a run-in with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac, there is no need to call EMS. Wash the affected area with soap and water. If you develop a rash, put a paste of baking soda and water on the area several times a day, or use an anti-itch lotion or an antihistamine to relieve the itchiness. Be aware that some people can have allergic reactions to even over-the-counter drugs to stop itching...use caution and if you have any doubts about whether you are allergic, talk to you doctor! . See a doctor if the condition gets worse, affecting large areas of the body or face.

If someone is stung by an insect, such as a bee, remove the stinger by scraping it away from the skin with your fingernail or a plastic card, or use tweezers. Wash the area with soap and water, cover it to keep it clean, and apply ice to reduce pain and swelling. If the victim begins to have trouble breathing, he or she may be experiencing an allergic reaction and his or her body is going into anaphylactic shock. You must CALL EMS immediately or the victim's airway may constrict, preventing breathing and killing the victim.

Scorpions and Spiders

Only a few species of scorpions are known to cause death. Scorpions live in dry regions of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico, under rocks, logs and the bark of certain trees. They are most active at night. If you are stung by a scorpion, you would be wise to call EMS unless you are positive that the one that bit you is not poisonous.

Only two spiders in the U.S. have bites that can make you seriously ill or kill you. The black widow spider is black with a reddish hourglass shape on the underside of its body. The brown recluse spider is light brown with a darker brown, violin-shaped marking on the top of its body. Both prefer dark, out-of-the-way places, and bites usually occur on the arms or hands of people rummaging in dark garages or attics or in wood piles (In other words, don't go looking for them and they won't bite you!).

Symptoms of spider bites and scorpion stings are: nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing or swallowing, sweating and salivating profusely, severe pain in the bite/sting area, a mark indicating a bite/sting, and swelling of the area. If you suspect you have been bitten by a black widow or a brown recluse or stung by a scorpion, wash the wound, apply ice to the area, and call EMS immediately. Antivenins, medications that block the effect of the poison, are available.

Marine Life , Snakes and Other Animals

The stings of some different types of marine life, such as sting rays, sea anemones and jellyfish may make you sick. If you are stung, soak the affected area in salt water and apply a paste of baking soda or meat tenderizer, or even ice, as soon as possible to reduce swelling. If you are unsure what stung you, have a history of allergic reactions to marine life stings, are stung on the face or neck, or are having difficulty breathing, call EMS immediately.

Only four kinds of snakes found in the U.S. are poisonous: rattlesnake(distinctive rattling sound before it strikes), water moccasin, copperhead, and coral snake(distinctive red, yellow and black markings). If you are bitten by a snake, call EMS immediately. Wash the wound and immobilize the area, keping it lower than the heart if possible. DO NOT apply ice, DO NOT cut the wound, and DO NOT apply a tourniquet. Get yourself medical attention quickly.

If you are bitten by awild or domestic animal, you may get an infection and you will have injury to the soft tissue. The most serious possible consequence is rabies, which is transmitted through the saliva of diseased animals, including dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks, cattle, and bats. Infected animals may behave strangely; for example, a nocturnal animal like a raccoon may be active during the day, or the animal may drool, appear partially paralyzed, or act irritable, mean, or quiet. Rabies is fatal if it is not treated promptly. If you suspect that you have bitten by a rabid animal, call EMS immediately. Get away from the animal. DO NOT try to catch or hold it. Wash the wound with soap and water if it is minor, control bleeding and apply an antibiotic ointment and a dressing. If the wound is bleeding heavily, do not try to wash it; just try to control the bleeding, and call EMS. Try to remember what the animal looked like, as well as where you last saw it. Call EMS and inform them, and they will get the proper authorities involved.