An accidentally ingested poisonous substance spreads in the body at an alarmingly fast rate, leaving the victim with little time to undo the damage. In such cases of food poisoning, one needs to take the extreme step of regurgitating the contents out oneself. Self-induced vomiting is never easy to do and can end up being very painful. There can also be irreversible damage done, if it is not done properly. Hence, it is best to ask a bystander to call an ambulance as soon as one finds out that he or she has been poisoned. However, if a person has been poisoned and has lost consciousness or is bed ridden (that is, he cannot stand and bend), then one should never induce vomiting, as this may make the person choke on the vomit, due to blockage of the airway. As far as possible, try to consult a physician before starting the procedure.
Emetics are an efficient way of inducing vomiting. These are medicines like syrup of ipecac. Syrup of ipecac is to be mixed with water and gulped down in one go. If one has an emetic tablet, that can also be taken with a glass of water. These are highly effective medicines and yet mild enough. They cause discomfort in the epigastrium, followed by a nauseous sensation, which then culminates in the severe contraction of the stomach wall, thus, pushing out its contents.
Use Your Index Finger
In case there is no emetic at hand, one can induce regurgitation by using one's finger. Here, the person has to insert the index finger deep into the throat and touch the uvula and the palatal area around it. This will lead to a constriction sensation and a sudden grip of nausea. When this happens, the finger should be removed.
If you do not have any medicine at hand, you can try salt water. Take about 4-5 tablespoons of salt in a glass of water and let it dissolve completely. Once the salt is dissolved in the water, gulp it down immediately. Another option is to eat non-palatable foods or gross food combinations that can make you throw up.
Where to Throw Up?
Once you know how to make yourself throw up quickly, by using either emetics or your finger, you should bend down and hold your stomach tightly over a plastic vomiting bag. It is advisable to throw up in a plastic bag rather than in the toilet, as then a medical team can check the vomit contents for drugs, blood, toxins, etc.
Once you are done vomiting, sit down and drink cold water and try to relax and breathe normally. The water will help prevent dehydration and will possibly lubricate the sore esophagus.
These may seem like easy tips, but should be done only if there is genuine poisoning that has occurred and if a person's life is at risk. Some people tend to abuse these techniques, especially young bulimia nervosa patients, after a bout of binging. But the harmful effects caused may be permanent, like, severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, erosion of the esophageal lining which may eventually lead to heartburn, erosion of teeth and a rare and dangerous complication like aspiration of vomit, which can be fatal.
Thus, these methods should be employed only in extreme cases. Avoid poisonous substances, or substances you might be allergic to, and don't let things come to this. Always remember, it is better to be safe than sorry!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.