Poisoning occurs when someone is exposed to a substance in sufficient enough amounts that can cause illness, injury, or death. These substances include:

  • Medicines

  • Alcohol and substances of abuse

  • Chemicals like cleaning agents and pesticides

  • Venom or toxins from plants and animals

As incidents involving poisonous substances can be dangerous if not handled properly, Sonder is here to help and assist you if poisoning occurs. If poisoning does happen, make sure you:

  • DO NOT induce vomiting, unless you have been told to do so by the Poisons Information Centre.

  • DO NOT give the patient anything to eat or drink.

  • Wash substances off the face and around the mouth with water.

Sonder’s team of trained nurses and medical professionals are always available to help you whenever you need advice. If you’re concerned that poisoning has occurred, simply start a chat or give us a call via the home screen of the Sonder app - we’ll be with you in seconds.


Signs and symptoms

Depending on the type of poison, signs and symptoms can include:

  • Bite or injection marks, with or without local swelling

  • Burns around and inside the mouth or on the tongue

  • Smell of fumes

  • Odours on the breath

  • Burning pain from mouth to stomach

  • Nausea, vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Tight feeling in chest

  • Headache

  • Ringing in ears

  • Blurred vision

  • Blue lips, face, earlobes, fingernails

  • Drowsiness

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Seizures

What to do

  1. Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance and/or fire services if the air is contaminated with smoke or gas.

  2. Reassure the patient.

  3. Find out what sort of poison is involved, if possible, and record the information for medical personnel.

  4. Call the Poisons Information Centre 13 11 26, and follow their advice.

  5. If the patient is becoming drowsy, place them in the recovery position and continue to check their airway and breathing regularly.

  6. Send any vomit, containers and suicide notes with the patient to hospital.


If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: St John Ambulance Australia and Health Direct.

Image credit: National Cancer Institute at Unsplash

All content in Sonder's Help Centre is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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