c. Poison Removal by Gastric Lavage. Irrigating or washing out the stomach,
gastric lavage, is a way to remove poisons. A stomach tube is inserted and large
amounts of warm water are introduced slowly, usually 50 to 100 milliliters at a time.
This procedure is normally done in hospital emergency rooms. To remove the stomach
contents, insert a lubricated, soft but noncollapsible stomach tube through the patient's
mouth or nose. Then, suction and save the contents of the stomach. Continue washing
out the stomach with 50 to 100 milliliters of fluid until the fluid is clear. Always retain the
contents for laboratory analysis.
DO NOT use a stomach tube when the patient has ingested acids,
caustics, or ammonia. The stomach wall may be weakened, and a
stomach tube being inserted could make a hole in that weakened wall.
DO NOT use a stomach tube if the patient has swallowed corrosive
substances. There is a danger the patient will suck the corrosive
substances in his lungs and do further damage.
DO NOT use a stomach tube if the patient has ingested strychnine. The
attempt to pass a stomach tube may cause convulsions. In this case,
the patient should have complete rest in a quiet room and gentle
transport, if necessary.
d. Poison Removal by Dilution. The poison substance can be diluted or
weakened giving the patient 200 milliliters of milk of magnesia (MOM), aluminum
hydroxide gel, milk, or water. In addition to weakening the poison in the patient's body,
these substances will soothe irritated skin or the mouth, stomach, or other sensitive
membranes which have been exposed to a toxic or irritating agent.
e. Removal of Poison by Demulcent. A demulcent is a mucus-type fluid which
serves to reduce irritation and soothes inflammation, especially on the mucous
membranes of the body. Beaten egg whites and flour or starch paste are demulcents.
When eaten, these substances can reduce irritation and soothe the irritation caused by
f. Poison Removal by Systemic Antidotes. Some poisons may be removed
by using systemic medications, that is, medicine which affects the whole body. If you
are to use such medicine, the poison must be identified, and the specific antidote for
that poison must be available. There are few systemic antidotes available in
comparison to the number of substances which are poisonous to humans. Use the
specific antidote to the ingested poison whenever possible. For example, use Narcan
(also called Naloene) to reverse the action of all narcotic drugs such as heroin,
morphine, methadone, codeine, and Darvon. Use dimercaprol and calcium disodium
to reverse the actions of arsenic. Administer tropine and pralidoxime to reverse
resulting conditions of poisoning such as bradycardia.