Accidental Ingestion

Accidental Ingestion is a common reason for patients to present to emergency rooms. It can occur in children most often accidental, in adults by accident or on purpose, and in the elderly who often do not recall if they had taken their medication.

In children it occurs often when medication or dangerous substances are in reach of small children who do not realize the inherent dangers of this ingestion. Mothers taking pre-natal vitamins for example, may leave them where their other children can reach them and these contain Iron, which in large doses can be a very serious overdose. Adults may take an overdose either intentionally or when wanting to harm themselves, or simply because they are not familiar with the medication and the harm it can do in large amounts.

Accidental Ingestion of Medications

In the United States, Tylenol for example, when taken in large quantities as an overdose ingestion, and the patient does not realize the danger of this ingestion and that it can cause permanent liver damage. In the elderly, they often that cannot recall if they took their medications and therefore may take an additional dose accidentally. Symptoms of overdose can vary according to the medication and some overdoses do not manifest signs and symptoms immediately and be delay up to 24 hours. If you suspect your family member may have taken an overdose DO NOT WAIT. Call your local poison control 800 number for guidance.

If family member is unresponsive call 911. When you go to the emergency room such as FRONTLINE ER, it is very important that you bring all the medication you think that the patient may have taken and in the elderly bring all their medication with you so the doctor can review them to see if they match the symptoms the patient is having. If you suspect you family member did it intentionally please let the doctor know so an intervention can occur at that time also or when the patient is more alert to discuss this with the doctor.


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