Pesticide Poisoning & First Aid



Pesticide poisoning: A pesticide poisoning occurs when chemicals intended to control a pest affect non-target organisms such as humans, wildlife, or bees.


The most common exposure scenarios for pesticide-poisoning cases are accidental or suicidal poisonings, occupational exposure, by-stander exposure to off-target drift, and the general public who are exposed through environmental contamination.


First Aid for Pesticide Poisoning

    Take emergency action immediately when you suspect a pesticide poisoning. Treating a person immediately may help       prevent serious effects and consequences.

    Protect yourself before helping someone who has been poisoned.

    First aid treatment is not a substitute for medical treatment, but it can keep a patient alive or prevent further       complications until medical help is available. Know what first aid to follow in poisoning emergencies.



General First Aid for Pesticide Poisoning

    1. Protect yourself from exposure (put on gloves, respirator, etc., as may be required).

    2. Prevent additional pesticide exposure. Move the victim from the area of contamination and remove any contaminated         clothing.

    3. Check if the victim is breathing. If breathing has stopped or is very weak, clear the airway and begin artificial         respiration.Continue until the victim is breathing normally or until medical help arrives. When doing mouth-to-mouth         resuscitation, use a plastic face mask to protect yourself from poison. First aid and CPR courses will teach the correct         methods of artificial respiration.

    4. Tell the medical people: the pesticide name, active ingredient and also, when the victim was poisoned, the type of         exposure, and poisoning symptoms.

    5. Unless the doctor or Poison Control Centre tells you otherwise, follow the procedures below.

    6. Keep the patient at rest, warm and comfortable. Continue first aid treatment. Do not leave the patient alone. Get         someone else to arrange transportation to the Emergency Department of the nearest hospital.


First Aid for Specific Types of Poisoning Exposure


Skin Exposure
If pesticide contacts the skin:

    Put on waterproof gloves.

    Remove the victim's contaminated clothing.

    Drench affected skin with water (shower, hose, faucet). Wash contaminated skin and/or hair thoroughly with soap and       water. Clean under fingernails and toenails if they have been contaminated. Rinse the area with rubbing alcohol if       available, then wash again with soap and water.

    Dry the victim and wrap in a blanket or warm cloth.

    Disposal any contaminated clothing contaminated by pesticides.



Chemical Burns on Skin

    Put on waterproof gloves.

    Remove victims contaminated clothing.

    Wash the burned areas with large amounts of water.

    Cover burned area with a loosely-applied clean cloth (any kind will do).

    Do not apply any drugs or medications to the burned area. Do not use ointments, greases, creams, lotions, powders or       other drugs.

    If the victim is in shock, keep the person lying down and warm until medical help arrives.



Eye Exposure

If a pesticide contacts the eyes:

    Put on waterproof gloves.

    Hold the eyelids open and rinse eyes with large amounts of clean water. If possible, use a gentle stream of clean warm       water. Do not use an eye cup.

    Continue washing for 15 minutes or more.

    Do not use chemicals or drugs in wash water.


Inhalation Exposure

If pesticide was breathed in (dust, mist, vapor, gases):

    Protect yourself. If the victim is in an enclosed space, do not attempt to rescue without proper respiratory equipment.

    Carry the victim to fresh air as quickly as possible.

    Loosen tight clothing.

    Watch for signs of unconsciousness or convulsions. If convulsions occur, keep the airway open.

    If breathing has stopped or is difficult, begin resuscitation. Use a plastic face mask to protect yourself.

    Prevent chilling (wrap patient in blankets but do not overheat).

    Keep patient as quiet as possible.


Oral Exposure

If pesticide was swallowed:

    If a person is conscious and able to swallow, give them 1/2 to 1 glass of milk or water. Larger quantities may cause       vomiting.

    Do not induce vomiting.

    If the patient is retching or vomiting, place the patient face down with their head lower than their body in the recovery       position. This prevents vomit from entering the lungs and causing more damage. Do not let the patient lie on their back.       Clean the vomit from the patient and collect some in case the doctor needs it for chemical tests.

    When medical advice cannot be obtained, check and follow the pesticide label for directions.

    The doctor may recommend activated charcoal be administered to adsorb any remaining pesticide in the stomach. Follow       the doctor's instructions. Activated charcoal should be administered only with the advice of a medical attendant or doctor.