Poisoning can occur a number of ways. It can occur because of a dangerous mixture of medications, from an overdose, from swallowing dangerous household chemicals or insecticides, and from ingesting poisonous plants, food, or nicotine.
A person’s reaction can vary, dependent on the type and the amount of toxins ingested, with possible emergency and fatal outcomes. Reactions can include inﬂam- mation or burning around the lips, if the substance was taken orally; difﬁculty swal- lowing; nausea; sudden behavior changes; extreme thirst; breathing difﬁculties; unconsciousness; headaches; convulsions; vomiting; and death.
illions of poisoning exposures occur each year in the United States, resulting in nearly 900,000 visits to emergency rooms. About 90 per- cent of poisonings happen in the home, and more than half of these involve children under age six.
Prevention is the key. Following are recommen- dations from the American Association of Poison Control Centers that can help you protect children from poisons:
• Post the telephone number for your poison con- trol center near your phone, in a place where all family members will be able to ﬁnd it quickly in an emergency.
• Remove all nonessential drugs and household products from your home. Discard them accord- ing to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• If you have small children, avoid keeping highly toxic products, such as drain cleaners, in the home, the garage, the shed, or any other place that children can access.
• Buy medicines and household products in child- resistant packaging, and be sure that caps are always on tight. Do not remove child-safety caps. Avoid keeping medicines, vitamins, or household products in anything but their original packaging.
• Store all of your medicines and household prod- ucts in a locked closet or cabinet—including products and medicines with child-resistant containers.
• Crawl around your house, including inside your closets, to inspect it from a child’s point of view. You’ll likely ﬁnd a poisoning hazard that you hadn’t noticed before.
• Never refer to medicine or vitamins as “candy.”
• Make sure that visiting grandparents, family members, friends, or other caregivers keep their medications away from children. For example, if Grandma keeps pills in her purse, make sure the purse is out of the children’s reach.
• Keep a bottle of syrup of ipecac in your home— this can be used to induce vomiting. Use it only when the poison control center tells you to.
• Avoid products such as cough syrup or mouth- wash that contain alcohol—these are hazardous for young children. Look for alcohol-free alternatives.
• Keep cosmetics and beauty products out of chil- dren’s reach. Remember that hair permanents and relaxers are toxins as well.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, poisonous gas that can also cause sickness and death. The incomplete burning of fuels such as nat- ural gas, oil, kerosene, propane, coal, and wood produce carbon monoxide. Also, fuel-burning appliances that are not working properly or are installed incorrectly can produce fatal concentra- tions of carbon monoxide in your home. Other hazards include burning charcoal indoors and run- ning a car in the garage, both of which can lead to dangerous levels of CO in your home.
The following simple tips from the Centers for Disease Control will prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Install carbon monoxide alarms near the bed- rooms and on each ﬂoor of your home. If your alarm sounds, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that you press the reset but- ton, call emergency services (911 or your local ﬁre department), and immediately move to fresh air (either outdoors or near an open door or win- dow). If you learn that fuel-burning appliances were the most likely cause of the poisoning, have a serviceperson check them for malfunction before turning them back on. Refer to the instruc- tions on your CO alarm for more speciﬁc infor- mation about what to do if your alarm goes off.
• Symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to those of the ﬂu, only without a fever (headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath). If you experience any of these symptoms, get fresh air immediately and contact a physician for a proper diagnosis. Also, open windows and doors, turn
off combustion appliances, contact emergency services, and take the steps listed previously to ensure your home’s safety.
• To keep carbon monoxide from collecting in your home, make sure that any fuel-burning equip- ment, such as a furnace, a stove, or a heater, works properly, and never use charcoal or other grills indoors or in the garage. Do not leave your car’s engine running while it’s in the garage, and consider putting weather stripping around the door between the garage and the house.
Iron Poisoning from
Supplements or Medicines
From 1986 through 1997, more than
218,000 children, ages ﬁve and under, ingested iron preparations, and 46 died. Again, make sure that medicines and supplements are out of the reach of children.
The ingestion of dust from deteriorat- ing lead-based paint is the most common cause of lead poisoning among children. Currently, more
than 80 percent of public and pri- vately owned housing units built before 1980 contain some lead- based paint.
Improper use of medications, such as an overdose or the mix- ture of one medication with another without the doctor’s recom- mendation, can trigger an adverse reaction. Many prescription medications can have negative effects when combined with oth- ers. Also, some people unknowingly harbor allergies to medica- tions, which could lead to poisonous predicaments.
Children with access to household chemicals, detergents, and cleaners that are poorly capped and stored are vulnerable to sam- pling these poisons. The immediate response could include vom- iting or gagging. Also, children may accidentally lick, chew, or swallow poisonous plants or nicotine patches, which could induce dizziness or possibly only transitory distress.
Another more common form of poisoning comes from the ingestion of tainted food that was improperly cleaned, cooked, or refrigerated. These foods can contain dangerous bacteria and contaminants that create a feeling of pain, bloating, and nausea for three to six hours after consumption, as well as diarrhea, stom- ach cramps, and vomiting (see the Food Poisoning section).
The most serious type of food poisoning, particularly with improperly canned foods and seafood, is a potentially fatal form known as botulism. Generally, the longer it takes for the symp- toms of food poisoning to appear, the more serious the poisoning.
• Difﬁculty swallowing
• Sudden behavior changes
• Extreme thirst
• Breathing difﬁculties
• Ingestion of a toxic substance
TREATMENT Basic Plan
Acute Poisoning (Internal)
If you suspect that your child has ingested a poison, ﬁrst get the poisonous substance away from your child. If there is still some in his or her mouth, have the child spit it out into a bowl, so that you have the substance if a doctor needs to examine it. Next, check your child for these signs:
• Severe throat pain or discomfort
• Excessive drooling
• Trouble breathing
If your child has any of these signs, call an ambulance or get the child to an emer- gency room immediately. If there is no sign of these serious symptoms, call your local poison control center. The number is usually listed on the inside cover of your phone book (it’s best to have it on a sheet near your phone for emergency use). If you can- not ﬁnd the number, call 911 and ask for poison control. You can also call your pedi- atrician. Do not make your child vomit unless instructed to do so by the poison control center or your doctor.
Poison on the Skin
If a chemical is spilled on your skin, remove your clothes and rinse the skin with luke- warm water for ﬁfteen minutes. Then call the poison control center for further advice. Do not apply any topical treatment unless instructed to do so.
Poison in the Eye
Immediately ﬂush your eye with lukewarm water. Aim for the inner corner of the eye. Flush for ﬁfteen minutes, and call the poison control center for further directions.
The following tests help assess poisons that have accumulated in the body: Variety of different poisons, as ordered by your doctor—blood
Digestive function and microbe/parasite/candida testing—stool analysis
Toxic metals—hair or urine
Super Seven Prescriptions—Poisoning
Note: These recommendations are not to be used instead of conventional/emergency therapy for poisoning.
Super Prescription #1 Activated charcoal capsules
Take 3 capsules three times daily for two days. Charcoal binds toxins in the digestive tract so that they can be excreted out with the stool.
Super Prescription #2 Homeopathic Nux Vomica (Strychnos nux vomica)
Take a 30C potency four times daily. It is speciﬁc for poisoning from foods, med- ications, recreational drugs, or alcohol. The person is irritable and constipated.
Super Prescription #3 Homeopathic Arsenicum Album
Take a 30C potency four times daily. It is speciﬁc for the symptoms of food poi- soning, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Super Prescription #4 Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)
Take 250 mg of an 85 percent silymarin extract three times daily. It protects the liver and the kidneys from being damaged and improves detoxiﬁcation.
Super Prescription #5 Alpha lipoic acid
Take 100 mg three times daily to prevent liver damage, especially from a medica- tion overdosage.
Super Prescription #6 Vitamin C
Take 1,000 mg three times daily, or request the intravenous form from your doctor. Vitamin C aids in detoxiﬁcation and prevents organ damage.
Super Prescription #7 N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
Take 500 mg three times daily. NAC improves detoxiﬁcation and increases the level of the antioxidant glutathione.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) extract supports liver and kidney detoxiﬁcation. Take
800 mg twice daily.
Acupuncture is recommended to reduce the side effects of poisoning. See a qualiﬁed practitioner.
Other Bodywork Recommendations
Talk with your doctor about using these complementary therapies along with conven- tional therapy to recover from poisoning.
Pregnancy is a joyful time, but it’s rarely a comfortable one. There are probably as many different combinations of pregnancy-related problems as there are pregnant women. Nevertheless, most uncomfortable conditions are caused by one of three fac- tors: hormonal changes; nutritional deﬁciencies, whether preexisting or brought on by the additional needs of the baby; and the pressure placed on bones and internal organs by the weight of the growing child.
If you’re pregnant, it’s essential to have regular check-ups. Your doctor should mon- itor your health, as well as your baby’s, and should remain vigilant for any signs of trou- ble. Good conventional care has saved the lives of many women and their developing babies, and serious problems can often be successfully treated when caught early
When to Call the Doctor
During pregnancy, your body goes through an astounding number of changes. Some will seem normal to you, but you may worry about others. It’s wise to develop a good relationship with your doctor long before you get pregnant, so that you are well-informed and comfortable with asking questions. No matter how often you see or talk to a doctor, however, you should always call a med- ical professional right away if you experience any of the following:
• Vaginal bleeding
• Persistent abdominal pain or cramping
• Continuous or intense morning sickness during the ﬁrst trimester
• Nausea and vomiting that occur after the ﬁrst trimester is over
In rare cases, water retention and swelling are signs of a potentially dangerous condition. While most women do experience these symptoms dur- ing the course of a normal, healthy pregnancy, it’s always a good idea to have them checked out by your doctor, just to be on the safe side.
enough. But as valuable as conventional medicine can be for pregnant women, it rarely offers ways to handle the daily discomfort. During this time, a woman may come to fully appreciate the gentle power of natural therapies. Although some highly potent herbs and other treatments are too strong for the baby, there are still many complemen- tary strategies that will minimize the less-serious problems that accompany pregnancy. Each of the following recommendations is safe to use during pregnancy, but always alert your doctor or midwife to what you are using as nutritional supplements.
During pregnancy, your body needs more iron than usual. A deﬁciency can result in anemia, a disorder in which the body’s cells don’t receive enough oxygen. As a result, you feel tired and drained, and you may be more vulnerable to illness.
To overcome pregnancy-induced anemia, consume foods that are high in iron. Organic calf ’s liver is far and away the best source, but if you’re a vegetarian or just can’t hold organ meats down right now, you do have some other options. Molasses, green leafy vegetables (with the exception of spinach), leeks, cashews, cherries, straw- berries, dried fruits, ﬁgs, and eggs are all rich in iron.
Food to Avoid
• Spinach, rhubarb, tomatoes, and chocolate are high in oxalic acid, a substance that blocks the absorption of iron.
• If you’re pregnant, you’ve already been advised to stay away from caffeine, which can harm the baby. Caffeine also inhibits iron absorption, as do carbon- ated sodas and dairy products.
• Do not take iron pills with meals that are high in ﬁber. The ﬁber will sweep the iron out of your system before you’ve had a chance to digest it.
Super Seven Prescriptions—Anemia
Super Prescription #1 Iron
If you have been diagnosed with iron-deﬁciency anemia by your doctor, take 50 to 200 mg (or the amount recommended by your doctor, depending on the sever- ity) of an easily absorbed form of iron, such as iron citrate, gluconate, glycinate, or fumarate, one to two times daily. Also, iron chelate is generally well absorbed. Avoid the use of iron sulfate (ferrous sulfate), which is poorly absorbed and can cause digestive upset.
Super Prescription #2 Prenatal multivitamin
Take as directed on the container. It supplies a wide range of nutrients for healthy red blood cells.
Super Prescription #3 Ferrum Phosphoricum
Take 5 pellets of the 3x or 6x potency three times daily. This homeopathic remedy improves iron utilization in the cells.
Super Prescription #4 Yellow dock (Rumex crispis)
Take 1 (300 mg) capsule or 20 drops of the tincture with each meal. It contains iron and improves iron absorption.
Super Prescription #5 Nettles (Urtica diocia)
Take 2 ml of the tincture twice daily or 300 mg of the capsule form, or drink 1 cup of the tea twice daily (organic source). This herb is a source of iron and other blood- building minerals.
Super Prescription #6 Chlorella
Take as directed on the container for a host of iron-building nutrients, including chlorophyll.
Super Prescription #7 Vitamin C
Take 100 mg with each dose of iron. It provides an acidic environment for enhanced iron absorption.
See the Anemia section for further details.