Do not try to think of an antidote such as weak acid like vinegar or lemon juice, for an alkaline substance. Give large quantities of milk, which can dilute the poison and delay absorption.

This advice also applies to volatile substances like kerosene and petrol where vomiting might lead to the inhalation of fumes which could damage the lungs.

If you have small children in your house or likely to visit you, I would ask you to do three things after reading this article.

FIRST, check your phone book and see where the Poisons Information Centre number is listed, so you will be able to find it in a hurry.

SECONDLY, please see that all substances such as drugs or chemicals are in a secure place. If you don’t have a locked cupboard, get one.

THIRDLY, put on your shopping list for this week a bottle of Syrup of Ipecac from your chemist.


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