(1) Signs/symptoms of petroleum poisoning. Signs and symptoms are
numerous and varied. Included are headache, vomiting, weak irregular pulse, and
muscle twitching. The person has probably inhaled the petroleum product into the lungs
if he has a persistent cough. Fever, fluid in the lungs, rapid or labored breathing, and a
bluish tinge in the fingernails or lips also indicate that the person has inhaled petroleum
product fumes into the lungs.
Treatment for petroleum poisoning.
(a) Move the patient to fresh air.
(b) The use of gastric lavage (washing out the stomach by gastric tube)
or emetics (substances to cause vomiting) is controversial because there is a danger
the patient may suck some methyl into the lungs, causing more bodily harm by
damaging the lungs. If gastric lavage is performed, be very careful to prevent
aspiration. (Use a cuffed endotracheal tube.)
(c) After performing gastric lavage, give the patient magnesium
cathartic to cause increased evacuation of the bowels.
(d) Remove ingested hydrocarbons only if the amount exceeds one
milliliter per kilogram of body weight or if the hydrocarbons contain toxic solutes.
(e) For three to four days after ingesting methyl alcohol, watch the
patient closely for symptoms of respiratory involvement.
(f) Treat pulmonary edema with oxygen (not to exceed 40 percent
concentration). Use a rebreathing mask. DO NOT use a high concentration mask.
Give antibiotics if fever occurs.
POISONING CAUSED BY VEGETATION
Although many varieties of plants can be poisonous to humans if ingested, a
large percentage of poisonings by vegetation occur from eating poison mushrooms.
One reason is that it is very difficult to distinguish poisonous mushrooms from
nonpoisonous ones. Additionally, poisonous and nonpoisonous mushrooms always
grow in the same area and look very much alike. Mycologists, mushroom experts,
recognize eight different varieties of poisonous mushrooms, each group consisting of
several different species. People gathering wild mushrooms are liable to collect and
cook not only nonpoisonous mushrooms but also several varieties of poisonous
mushrooms. Refer to table 4-1 for a list of plants, toxic parts, and specific poisoning