accessibility & help

First aid for
poisoning and harmful substances

Watch the video, in which Kirsty is helped after drinking a harmful substance.

Use the information below the video to remind yourself how to help someone who has taken a harmful substance.


Establish what they have taken. When? And how much?

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The emergency services will want to know this information.


As soon as possible, call 999 or get someone else to do it.

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The substance could be extremely harmful and the person may need urgent medical attention.


Do not make the person sick.

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By making them sick, you can cause further damage to their throat or block their airway.


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Send us your stories

We love to hear from people who have stepped forward to help in a first aid emergency. If you have a first aid story that you'd be happy to share, please email including your name, telephone number and some brief details about what happened. The British Red Cross will only use your information to contact you about your first aid story.

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Young woman checks for breathing on a baby

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