First aid for poisoning

Poisoning is a process of inhalation, ingestion, absorption, or injection of a poisonous substance.

Poisoning may be accidental or intentional and can occur from many different forms such as chemicals, alcohol, drugs, common plants, household items.

What to do

  1. Follow DRSABCD St John WA Action Plan.
  2. Urgent medical aid is required. Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance.
  3. Call Poisons Information 13 11 26 and/or follow instructions on any containers.
  4. Send any vomit, containers, or notes with the casualty to the hospital.

Conscious casualty

  1. Listen to the casualty and give reassurance.
  2. Find out what sort of poison is involved and keep any containers for the medical aid to see.
  3. DO NOT induce vomiting or give anything to eat or drink.
  4. Wash any corrosive substance off the mouth and face with water, or wipe off.

Unconscious casualty

  1. Place the casualty in the recovery position if unconscious and breathing and continue to check their airway and breathing regularly.

Inhaled Poisons

  1. Move casualty and yourself to fresh air.
  2. Loosen tight clothing.

Absorbed Poisons

  1. Protect yourself (if possible) use protective clothing such as gloves, goggles, and so on.
  2. Wash the substance off immediately.
  3. Ask the casualty to remove any contaminated clothing.
  4. Flush the casualty’s skin with running water.
  5. Wash gently with soap and water and rinse well.


  1. Follow DRSABCD St John WA Action Plan - avoid needle stick injuries to yourself and casualty.
  2. Treat any other signs and symptoms. Send any empty syringes, bottles, and vials with the casualty to the hospital.

    Caused by

    • Toxic fumes
    • Toxic substances
    • Bites and stings

    Signs and symptoms

    • Confusion, drowsiness, delirium, seizures, unconsciousness.
    • Burns to skin, lips and throat.
    • Irritation to eyes and skin.
    • Respiratory distress, such as slow breathing or airway blockage.
    • Affected heart function.
    • Abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, diarrhoea.
    • Blurred vision and headache.
    • Intoxication.
    • Seizures.
    • Stroke.