Pesticides are amazing tools when growing fruits and vegetables. They keep away the pests while allowing your plants to grow to maturity without interruptions. When applied properly, you can keep a large majority of your mature harvest because pests simply can’t reach the site of growth.

Each pesticide comes with a specific set of instructions. Proper handling is always required. You should wear protective warning iconclothing always when handling, and never store them in a container you plan on using for food or drink later. There’s a host of safety precautions that, when followed, should keep you from ever having to deal with pesticide poisoning.

The only problem is that the best laid plans go awry at some point. Accidents happen and someone is exposed to chemicals they shouldn’t have been. The following are a few steps you should take immediately if you think someone’s been poisoned by pesticide.

First, recognize that something’s wrong due to pesticide poisoning. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, weakness, confusion, sweating, chills, difficult breathing, unconsciousness, cramps, and dizziness. When you see someone with these symptoms after working with pesticides, begin to take action.

Second, if symptoms are serious, call poison control immediately to get help. Their number is 800-222-1222.

Third, if the victim has stopped breathing, give them artificial respiration and have someone call an ambulance. Activities like CPR can keep the body alive until medical help can arrive. Be careful to only do what you know how to do, ie. do not perform CPR if you don’t know how. You can, however, provide artificial respiration by itself.

Fourth, regardless of whether or not you needed 911, have someone check out the pesticide labeling for first aid. Packaging will often give tips on how to handle that particular chemical.

Fifth, if you’re left to care for this victim, determine where the poisoning happened. Was it inhaled, wiped into an eye, or swallowed? Your actions will differ based on how the poison was absorbed.

  • If it came through skin contact, wash it off as soon as possible. Drench off the area with excessive amounts of water, and then clean thoroughly with soap. Use clean water. Also remove all contaminated clothing as soon as possible. Dry the affected area and apply bandages if there are burns.
  • If it came through the eyes, wash them quickly and gently with clean water. Keep at it for about 10-15 minutes.
  • If inhaled, get the victim to fresh air and make breathing as easy as possible for them, eg. remove restrictive clothing.
  • If swallowed, rinse the mouth with a lot of clean water. Have them drink large amounts of water or milk (not exceeding a quart), unless they are unconscious.

These tips can get you through most of the poisonings that can come from pesticides. Always be careful as you apply them to avoid a problem with it. Should poisoning happen though, you’ll know what to do about it.

Photo Credit: resignent