The Triton

Career

Accidental or intentional, watch for poisons onboard

ADVERTISEMENT

Poisoning can happen in many ways, through various routes, and it can be accidental or intentional, as in the case of suicide. Below are the ways we can be poisoned:

1. Ingestion – by eating or drinking something

2. Contact – splashing or spilling something on the skin or in the eyes

3. Inhalation – breathing dangerous fumes

4. Injection – bites or stings from insects, snakes, spiders or sea life.



First, let’s address poisoning by ingestion where the victim intentionally takes medication. This is often a mistake, where they accidentally took too much of their prescribed medication or even a pharmacy error, but this can also be an attempted suicide.



In either case, this can be deadly. According to the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from drug overdose have been rising steadily over the past two decades and have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Every day in the United States, 105 people die as a result of drug overdose, and 6,748 more are treated in emergency departments for the misuse or abuse of drugs. Nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs.



Poisoning by contact is often work-related while we are working with chemicals that can be absorbed into the body. To avoid this, always wear protective clothing (gloves, long sleeves, long pants, socks, shoes) when working with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.



Chemicals can also poison us by ingestion, if we accidentally drink something. This is why it is important to keep chemical products in their original bottles or containers. Never use food or beverage containers such as water or soda bottles to store chemical products. This is a recipe for disaster and frequently results in the unintentional injury or death of an unsuspecting person.



In both these circumstances, it pays to be prepared. Put the U.S. poison help number (1-800-222-1222) on or near every telephone and save it in your cell phone. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Here’s what to do if a poisoning occurs:



1. Remain calm. If you act scared, the patient will become more scared.

2. Call or radio for medical help. If your ship has a medical service, now is a good time to call the service for medical advice. You may be told to administer activated charcoal. It helps prevent the poison from being absorbed from the stomach into the body. Check your first-aid kit to see if you some handy.

3. If in the U.S., call that poison help number (1-800-222-1222).



When calling for help have the following information available:

The victim’s age, height and weight

The container or bottle of the poison / medication (if available)

The time the poison exposure happened

Your location

The victim’s vital signs and general appearance

The names of other medications the victim may be taking, if any

Whether the poisoning was accidental or possibly a suicide attempt



As with all medical emergencies, training and preparation is the key. Know what you will do if someone on board — crew or guest — has a poisoning incident. Think about the items onboard that might contribute to such as scenario and consider their placement and availability.

 

Keith Murray, a former firefighter EMT, owns The CPR School, a first-aid training company. He provides onboard training for yacht captains and crew and sells and services AEDs. Contact him at 877-6-AED-CPR, 877-623-3277 or www.TheCPRSchool.com. Comments on this column are welcome at editorial@the-triton.com.

Related Posts...
Sea Sick: by Keith Murray We have all heard of Read more...
Sea Sick: by Keith Murray A common question people ask Read more...
This morning I am putting the finishing touches on this Read more...
Sea Sick: by Keith Murray Last month, we created a Read more...

Share This Post

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer the question below to leave a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Editor’s Picks

FLIBS17: Show tests yacht sale in duty-free FTZ

FLIBS17: Show tests yacht sale in duty-free FTZ

Foreign trade zone offers new options for foreign-flagged yachts By Dorie Cox M/Y Clorinda is able to do what few other …

FLIBS17: New FLIBS dates get rave reviews

FLIBS17: New FLIBS dates get rave reviews

By Dorie Cox Wednesday worked. For as long as most people remember, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show has started on Thursday …

USVI Charter Yacht Show previews season, post-hurricane cruising grounds

USVI Charter Yacht Show previews season, post-hurricane cruising grounds

By Carol Bareuther It felt like business as usual at the USVI Charter Yacht Show, hosted by the newly formed Virgin Islands Professional …

Gallery: Triton Networking at Longbow Marine

Gallery: Triton Networking at Longbow Marine

Nearly 300 captains, crew and industry pros joined us last night for Triton Networking at chandlery Longbow Marine in Fort Lauderdale. Low …

Featured Listings