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How to Treat Sun Poisoning

September 17th, 2013 | Posted by Julius Mark in Poisonings - (0 Comments)

Most people cannot wait to go outside to soak up the sun after a

long, barren winter. The sun has many countless benefits on earth. For starters, the sun makes life possible on Earth. Sun is the primary source of energy of all living things. Moreover, moderate doses of sun activate vitamin D production in the body. Although despite the necessity of the sun to vitamin D synthesis, it is necessary to limit exposure of the skin to sunlight. It is known to many that overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays leads to sunburn. However, a more severe form of photodermatitis, or an abnormal skin response to sunlight, is sun poisoning.

The earth’s ozone layer keeps these harmful UV rays from entering earth, however, not all is filtered out. Due to the thinning ozone layer, more and more UV rays pass through this layer, causing more harm than ever on the skin. When the UV rays permeate through the outer layer of the skin, it causes damage to the living cells found beneath. This usually causes sunburn, but the more severe reaction is sun poisoning.

The body produces melanin, the determinant pigment that determines eye, hair and skin color. Two types of melanin are produced in the body, eumelanin and pheomelanin. The former is commonly found in dark-skinned people, turning their skin brown and acts as natural protection from sunburns, whereas the latter commonly causes the skin to redden, and is thus frequently found in fair-skinned people. Hence, fair-skinned people are more prone to sun poisoning. Interestingly enough, it is said that redheads are most susceptible to skin damage after extended sun exposure.

Some of signs and symptoms include headache, dizziness or fainting, nausea, chills, blisters, quick pulse and breathing, blisters, dehydration, shock and unconsciousness. A person is also in danger of electrolyte imbalance if there is sun poisoning. This is aside from the painful, red and burning feeling of the skin that is normally associated with sunburn. If dehydration, shock or unconsciousness is observed, seek medical attention immediately. Furthermore, if there is extreme pain or vomiting or a fever develops of over 104°F, it is better to head to an emergency room. IV fluids may be administered to reinstate hydration or oral steroids may be prescribed to lessen inflammation.

To treat sun poisoning, increased efforts to cool the body down and stay hydrated. Take frequent cool (not cold) baths. Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, fruit juices and sports drinks, and avoid drinking caffeinated drinks as they as diuretics. Don’t rub the skin, only patting it, with wet cloth. If possible, stay in a cool environment until symptoms alleviate to avoid further damage on the skin.

Sun Poisoning                It is better to prevent sun poisoning rather than to treat it. If exposure to the sun is expected, apply generous amounts of sunscreen and protective clothing, such as hats. Sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and broad spectrum is generally recommended.

Although it may be less common than sunburn, sun poisoning is more severe and would require home treatment right away in order to not exacerbate symptoms. Through St Mark James programs, first aid training is made available to educate the lay community on how to treat and ease symptoms for many various medical situations. Moreover, CPR courses are also offered to participants who want to learn the most up to date CPR training for emergency medical situations.

No matter how careful you are when it comes to your child’s safety in your How to administer first aid for child poisoninghome, you cannot protect the little one enough every parent should have basic first aid skills in case of emergencies. Childhood poisoning is one of such emergencies that require a bit of first aid knowledge, even after child proofing every inch of the house, locking up all cleaning chemicals and storing all the medicines in the top most shelves; children tend to be very curious and
experimental when no one is watching. Children end up ingesting very harmful substances such as make-up, cleaning detergents, or even fertilizers from the kitchen garden things that you wouldn’t think of stashing away for their safety. Reported cases of poisoning reveal that it is most common among children under 7years. Parents need to know how to act in the event of such emergencies as it is vital and can save a child’s life.

Indications of childhood poisoning before carrying out First Aid

• Redness or Burns  around the mouth  (is a sign your kid drank something caustic)
• Smell of chemicals from the breath
• Stainss, Burns,  and smells on the child, clothes, or anywhere in the house
• Vomiting,  sleepiness, confusion, difficulty breathing,  or other strange behavior
• Unconsciousness or Seizures

First aid for childhood poisoning:

In the event of child poisoning it is important that you remain calm and locate the cause of the poisoning so as to know exactly how to treat it and also to ensure that it causes no more harm to others. There are various ways to treat different poisoning cases among them, that‘s why it is good for every member at home to attend First Aid Training so as to have the know how.

• Check for the child’s state of consciousness; this determines the treatment to give the child and also who to call for assistance.
• If the child is unconscious, and shows no sign of life immediately start to administer CPR and call for emergency medical assistance giving clear information of what transpired.
• If the child is unconscious but seems to be breathing normal, put her in the recovery position (make them lie on the side with head tilted slightly above) to open up the airway.
• If the poisoning is in solid form, for example pills, wrap your finger in a clean cloth or even wash your hands clean and remove any residue that may be in your child’s mouth.
• If it is a skin corrosive, you may remove the child’s clothing from the injured area and put under running water for 30 minutes.
• If it has has come in contact with the child’s eyes, you may flush the eyes with plenty of clean, lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes. Ask the child to blink repetitively and avoid rubbing their eyes.
• DO NOT induce vomiting unless you’re advised to do so by medical professionals.


It is almost not easy to child proof all corners of the house as even the common household things can contain harmful chemicals that affect children. It is only safer if a parent learns basic First Aid Courses treatments to administer to the children before the medics arrive.


In this article, you can learn all about CPR training for child poisoning.

The invention of modern medicines has played a crucial role in improving the quality and longevity of life. Medicines are made of either natural or synthetic compounds that are intended to treat various health conditions. However, these substances can also cause health problems, particularly poisoning, if taken more than the safe amounts or alongside other substances. Taking expired medications can also lead to serious health problems so safe disposal of unused mediations is important to prevent potential harm.

Important Disclaimer: the material posted on this blog for preventing accidental poisoning is for information purposes only. Take a St Mark James first aid course  to learn how to help individuals with taking medication (ex: 6 rights of medication) and how to manage poisonings.

Check the Expiration Dates

The Food and Drug Administration requires all pharmaceutical products to contain expiration dates. The expiration dates are critical in determining whether a product is still safe for consumption and will work as expected. drug overdoseThis information is normally found stamped onto the carton or bottle or printed on the label. It is important that you read the label and check the expiration date before taking any medication.

Expired Drugs

Aside from the fact that expired medical products are less effective, they can be risky due to the chemical changes in its composition. It may be difficult to predict how an expired drug will affect the body. Moreover, treating poisoning due to expired medications is often more challenging. Usually, medical products have an antidote which is taken to manage or treat a person in case of accidental overdose or poisoning. In the case of expired drugs, the full intended effects of these antidotes are not guaranteed. It is quite difficult to predict what chemical changes have occurred in the overdosed medications and how it can best be handled. Healthcare providers administering emergency treatment may rely on diagnostic tests to treat the problem.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends checking medicine cabinets regularly for any unused or expired medications. If you have any of these medications, you should consider disposing them safely. The proper disposal of medications cannot be overemphasized. This is because improper disposal of unused medications may pose harm not just to humans but also the environment. For example, the medications you disposed may end up in the hands of other people who can either intentionally or accidentally take the medications, or the medications can also be flushed to tributaries affecting its ecology.

How to Dispose of Expired Medications

Here’s how you can safely dispose unused or expired medications:

  • Remove the medication from its original container. Mix it with dirt, coffee grounds, or kitty litter, so that it becomes unappetizing. Place the mixture in a tightly sealed plastic bag or container. Then, put it in the regular garbage.
  • Make sure you peel off the label and other identifying information from the container to ensure your privacy. Dispose or recycle the container.

However, these general guidelines do not apply to strong sedatives and painkillers. As much as possible, these drugs should be turned over to qualified professionals for safe disposal. If it is not possible, the medications should be flushed down the toilet to minimize potential hazards. For drug-specific instructions, you can check the medication label about proper drug disposal.

Learn More

To learn more about helping people take medication and how to treat poisonings enrol in St Mark James first aid and CPR training (sign up here). Check out our locations page for more information about providers near you.

Related Video

First Aid for Spider bites

January 9th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Poisonings - (0 Comments)

Spider bites

Not all spiders affect the human health; however, there are some such as the black widow spider and the brown recluse that are medically significant spiders because their bites are detrimental to humans. Spider bites are often not detected until the signs and symptoms begin to appear.

However, symptoms may be caused by other factors such as chemicals, infections or allergies that are mistaken to be spider bites. If you suspect that you have been bitten by a spider, look for one in your household and try to identify it through markings, color etc., so that you can tell your doctor about what caused the symptoms.

The black widow spider and the brown recluse prefer dark and warm climates where there are ample flies to hunt on. You will find them in dry, dirty, peaceful areas where there is no human interruption, such as closets, under sinks and wood piles.


Almost every spider is venomous; however, severe effects are very rare because the venom is either weak or discharged in small amounts. Symptoms of a spider bite are similar to insect bites:

black widow

A Black Widow, pictured above, can produce a bite that can be fatal to humans.

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Swelling


  1. Black widow spider

A black widow spider is identified with a red marking, shaped like an hour glass on its abdomen. Black widow spider bites often lead to severe cases but are only occasionally deadly. The bite will feel like a mere pinprick and you will not be able to feel the bite. The bite will only be identified once the signs and symptoms such as light red marks and swelling appear. After a few hours, you will experience the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain
  • Faint red marks
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

Brown recluse spider

The spider may have a violin shaped marking on its back which is sometimes inconsistent. Effects of a bite will start with a mild stinging sensation after which, redness and severe pain will occur. The remaining symptoms are as follows:

  • Fluid filled blister forms that eventually leave a deep and expanding ulcer
  • Mild fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Usually in children, death may also result


  1. Try to identify the type of spider that bit you. If you the spider is nearby, remember its markings, color, pattern, size etc.
  2. Clean the affected region thoroughly with soap and water.
  3. Apply a cool compress on the affected region.
  4. If practical, elevate the region to encourage blood flow.
  5. For adults, over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin and acetaminophen can be used to relieve pain. Antihistamines can also be used to alleviate symptoms of the spider bite. Do NOT give aspirin to children and teenagers suffering from flu-like symptoms, chicken pox or viral infections. Consult your doctor for further guidance.

In case of a black widow spider or brown recluse bite, follow these steps:

  1. Use soap and water to thoroughly cleanse the affected region.
  2. Try to stop or slow down the venom from radiating to other regions of your body. If the spider has bitten any one of your limbs, tie a bandage above the affected region and elevate it to slow down movement of the venom. Make sure that you do not tie the bandage too tight as it may interfere with your natural blood circulation.
  3. Apply a cold cloth (cloth soaked in cold water) on the affected region.
  4. Seek emergency medical treatment to receive anti-venom medication.

Doctors suggest getting tetanus shots every 10 years to make you less susceptible to infections. If you have received a tetanus shot within the last 5 years, get a booster shot in case, you have been bitten by a spider or any other insect that may lead to serious infection.

Learn More About Poisonings

To learn more about poisonings and other types of bites, including spider bites, enrol into St Mark James training programs. We are partnered with the leading providers in the Country. Training partners are located in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, and many more.

Related Video on Spider Bites

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