First Aid

If Swallowed:

  • Remain calm
  • Protect yourself from poisoning
  • Seek medical advice from a Poisons Centre or your Doctor
  • Bring the product container to the phone if you can

If the person is sleepy or unconscious but is still breathing:

  • Call an ambulance
  • Place the person in the recovery position:
  • Lie the person on their side (not their back)
  • Ensure their head is lower than their body

If the patient is not breathing or does not have a pulse:

  • Call an ambulance
  • Apply cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

DO NOT make the person vomit 

  • Vomiting is not effective at removing a swallowed substance
  • Vomit can sometimes be inhaled into the lungs, causing lung injury.

This risk is increased by:

  • Products that can froth (e.g. shampoo, dishwashing liquid)
  • Products that are light, and easily inhaled (e.g. petrol, oils)
  • Children, who often become drowsy after vomiting
  • Some products (e.g. cleaners) can cause burns to the throat. Vomiting increases the risk of burns occurring, and may also cause more significant lung injury if inhaled.

DO NOT give fluids unless instructed to do so by the Poisons Centre

  • This may cause the person to vomit (see above)
  • For some toxic substances, this can help the substance to be absorbed into the body and cause poisoning

Rinse or wipe the mouth out to clear away any remaining substance.

If Breathed In:

DO protect yourself from poisoning first
DO quickly move the person away from the gas or fumes into fresh air

  • If the person is unconscious put them into the recovery position:
  • Lie the person on their side (not their back) and make sure their head is lower than their body
  • Seek medical attention immediately

DO NOT try to rescue an unconscious person where a highly toxic or unknown gas is involved without a breathing apparatus. You may become a victim yourself

If In Eyes:

  • Flush with clean, room temperature water poured from a jug or bottle, or a low-pressure running tap or hose for at least 15 minutes.
  • Get an eye examination performed at your Medical Centre or Hospital.

DO NOT use an eye bath solution or eye drops

  • This may react with the chemical in the eye
  • Eye baths and drops do not contain enough water to flush the eye

DO NOT use a high pressure shower to flush the eye

  • High pressure showers may cause pain to the eye

If On Skin:

  • Immediately flush the exposed area with lots of water
  • Seek medical attention if the skin is damaged

DO NOT leave spilled poisons on the skin even for a few minutes
They may be absorbed by the skin over time and cause poisoning or burns

Bites Or Stings:

  • Wash the area with soap or disinfectant and water.  Use sea water if there is no fresh water available.
  • Remove any stings or tentacles attached to the skin
  • For jellyfish stings, if there is pain, immerse the area in hot (but not burning) water for 15 minutes
  • Apply ice if there is swelling and cover with a sticking plaster

If the person develops an allergic reaction take them to a doctor immediately:

  • Rash
  • Temperature
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Swelling of the face and neck

See a doctor if signs of infection develop:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Blistering
  • Pain

DO NOT take an analgesic for pain without advice from a medical professional but it is ok to take an analgesic if stung by a common, non-venomous household creature.

DO NOT apply vinegar or methylated spirits to bites and stings

  • Vinegar is only effective for Box Jellyfish stings (an Australian Jellyfish)
  • Vinegar can make other bites and stings more painful

DO NOT apply ice to the hands or feet

  • This may cut off circulation


For more information call the National Poisons Centre

0800 POISON  / 0800 764-766