First Aid Training - Poisonous plants and fungi

Introduction

Many young children eat plant leaves or brightly coloured berries, but serious poisoning as a result rarely occurs.

However, ingesting even small amounts of foxglove or wild arum can cause nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps; and large amounts are potentially fatal. Seizures may occur after ingesting laburnum seeds.

Serious poisoning as a result of eating mushrooms is also rare. Mushrooms found in the garden may cause nausea, vomiting, and occasionally, hallucinations. Death cap mushrooms cause vomiting and severe watery diarrhoea between 6 and 12 hours after ingestion and can be fatal.

Recognition features

There may be:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Cramping abdominal pains.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Seizures.
  • Impaired consciousness.

Treatment

Your Aims:

  • To identify the poisonous plant, if available.
  • To manage any seizures.
  • To seek medical aid if necessary.

If the casualty is conscious:

  • Ask them what they have eaten and reasure them.
  • Try to identify the poisonous plant, and find out which part of it has been eaten.
  • Get medical advice at once so that the appropriate treatment can be given.
  • Keep any small pieces of the palnt that you have found to show to the doctor or send with the casualty to hospital.

If the casualty becomes unconscious:

  • Open the airway and check breathing
  • Be prepared to give chest compressions and rescue breaths if necessary.
  • Place them into the recovary position if the casualty is unconscious but breathing normally.
  • Dial 999 for an ambulance.

Do not induce vomiting.

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