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Do not induce vomiting

Often poisons, and certain drugs give directions to NOT induce vomitting. Indeed, I don’t ever remember reading directions that did advise you to induce vomiting. So, this begs the question, are they saying go ahead and vomit but don’t do so by sticking your fingers down your throat, or are they saying avoid vomiting altogether... take some gravol or something?

  • September 27, 2005
  • Posted by steve
  • Filed in Usage

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They usually say do not induce vomiting because many chemicals, when combined with the gastric juices can produce toxic gas. Vomiting will bring that gas up and puts you at the risk of inhaling it. In such cases, it can often be better to let the poisons run through the system.

Dylan September 28, 2005, 5:51am

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The "do not induce vomiting" instructions apply to substances that, while they may be dangerous to ingest, are even more damaging to lung tissue. The instructions are designed to prevent people from accidentally aspirating the substance.

Joe September 28, 2005, 6:04am

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They say do not induce vomiting for a couple of reasons. One, there is the risk of aspirating the substance into your lungs when you vomit. Two, the substances that we tell people not to vomit up are usually cleansers or bleach or other caustic substances. The reason you don't vomit these up is that the liquid already caused damage to the esophagus on the way down and vomiting it up will only expose your esophagus to more damage. Once the ammonia or bleach, for example, has reached the stomach the stomach will secrete acid and fluids to dilute the caustic substance. In addition, the stomach has a protective lining which the esophagus lacks, and can thus withstand being in contact with the caustic substance.
I don't think the toxic gas thing is correct, however.

drew, MD September 28, 2005, 6:57am

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Way off topic here, but you might want to look at this article on the phrase, "beg the question."

Tom B September 28, 2005, 7:54am

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Many medications actually do say to induce vomiting if taken in error or in too great a quantity. Particularly with pill form meds, one can often cause them to come back up before much damage is done if the error is caught quickly.

Janet September 28, 2005, 10:43am

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Petrolium Products are one of the things that usually say do not induce voliting. In the lungs, these cause chemical pneumonia, while what passes through the digestive system mostly just causes the runs and other more managable conditions. Doctors worry about long term effects, like picking up heavy metals from used motor oil, more than immediate death, and would rather pump the stomach than induce puking.
There ARE many poisons where the center for poison control will reccomend you immediately induce vomiting. For just one, many pills like sedatives, mood elevators or moderators, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-alergenics, caffine pills, acetominophin, and most of the illegal halucinogens and speed-like drugs, at least in pill form are better thrown up than left in. Call the poison hotline for your area to find out which is advisable.

Artifakt September 28, 2005, 10:46am

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I have seen some where vomiting is recommended after a certain amount of milk or other creamy substance, which may result in not damaging the esophagus. I have also seen times when the disease control has recommended drinking milk and NOT vomiting, so as to help coat the substance against the sub-volatile chemical.

Erik September 28, 2005, 1:18pm

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It is a matter of trying to avoid further risk to the esophagus and potential for inhalation of chemical irritants. The rule of thumb that we learned years ago in first aid (check labels first if they are handy--yeah, right) is to induce vomiting if the swallowed substance is a drug, food, or material that might ordinarily be ingested (albeit in smaller quantities). Conversely, do not induce vomiting after ingestion of chemicals which are typically not ingested at all, unless given direction to do so by health professionals. This is, I suppose, why there are Poison Control Centers....

Ozone September 28, 2005, 8:10pm

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What part of "Do not" is unclear?

Ben September 29, 2005, 2:45pm

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remember, there was a time when syrup of epicac was kept in every medicine cabinet, especially if one had children.

porsche October 20, 2005, 9:18pm

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Much of the time, the individual will be directed to go to the ER. The physician has the option of letting the substance pass, giving activated charcoal, or performing a gastric lavage.

rmosler January 17, 2006, 10:01am

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why not inuce vomit wjen gasoline is ingested

kimberlyscd October 18, 2006, 10:46am

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Think about it. If you ate something poisonous, what would simple common sense tell you to do? Why, spit it out, or up, or vomit it out, of course! The average person doesn't need to be told to vomit up poison. They would just do it. If they saw their kid eat something bad they would have the same reaction and get their kid to vomit.

That's why, when necessary, the warning NOT to vomit is presented so prominently (for reasons already described).

Anonymous October 18, 2006, 1:18pm

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IMAGINE that I accidentally eat too much soap AND/OR accidentally drink too much shampoo. I really feel that it is VERY ok for me to induce vomit because they are not too poisonous as VERY little poisonous. And I really feel that it is VERY ok for me to stick my finger in my mouth or anything that is similar to "stick" if it is long enough in length to induce vomit.

treyellender September 17, 2007, 7:41am

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Trey, would you avoid vomiting if you only ate just enough soap and/or shampoo?

Anonymous September 18, 2007, 5:08am

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If not vomiting is so important, why couldn't they tell us in understand words?

Mat October 1, 2007, 7:21am

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Mat, how could they make "Do NOT induce vomiting!" any more understandable??

Kris January 31, 2008, 11:03am

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I was just reading your comments, and I have to say I have to agree with you, Mat....Sure, they do say "Do not Induce Vomiting" on most Cleaners, but it does not say what TO do. And they do not give the number of the poison control center. I find this very inconvenient because I, as a babysitter, do not have time to go searching for it. I think they should at least tell you what to do if you can't induce vomiting. Incase ya'll want to know, if any of you live in ontario, the poison control center # is 1-800-567-8911. And one more question: Is the emergency # in the states 9-9-9 or 9-1-1??? I took an online first aid course and it said 9-9-9 so I wasn't sure. Hopefully you can help me.


chrisitna February 9, 2008, 10:20am

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its 911 in america

michelle February 16, 2008, 9:32am

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I was wondering about one thing. On some bottles of cleaning solutions and all that, it says "induce vomiting" and on others it says "If ingested, do not induce vomiting. Call your local poison control center immediately."....I do no think this is specific enough because it does not tell you what to do when you cannot induce vomiting. I mean, I know you obviously have to call poison control, but what ELSE can you do to ensure their survival?

Christina February 22, 2008, 7:48am

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ok would someone say what to do if taken too much pms medications like panadol 4 women on empty stomach and how to get my self to vomit it out its unbelievably painful and yes sticking my fingure down my throught doesnt help one bit so what to do then ?

eva4ever January 8, 2009, 8:06am

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@ eva "and yes sticking my fingure down my throught doesnt help one bit " we know what you do in your free time O_o

JGeorge November 11, 2010, 10:41am

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Hey, amyomous.... Please read my message in the internet as an email again and ur answered message again....... Well..... U really need to understand that IF I ate too much soap and/or drank too much shampoo, I HAVE TO induce vomiting with my finger OR with anything that is a "stick" to go much far in my throat than my finger for to SAVE MY LIFE AND ALSO SAVE MY HEALTH. Thank u for understanding.

treyellender August 20, 2011, 6:07am

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I have a product called "Amazing Goop" I would never leave this product out laying Around, but if my child got a hold of it And started biting it, what should I do?
Call 911
I don't know the poise control number for my area And I don't have the time to look for it, it doesn't have the
Number on the back of it. And no vehicle to drive to the ER , what can I do till they come to the house, is there anything I can do till then. To prevent my daughter from getting harmed?

Lady G May 11, 2013, 11:51pm

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Lady said.....I don't know the poise control number for my area And I don't have the time to look for it, it doesn't have the Number on the back of it......hate to say it but you are a lazy b|}○☆!!! You have time to post on this Webpage and actually you could have ( googled ) shearched the Internet

commincents May 16, 2013, 9:55pm

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@commincents - so you joined especially to say something you "hate to say", call someone names and make absolutely no comment on the subject in hand, or even on the English language? So what does that make you, I wonder?

Warsaw Will May 17, 2013, 8:18am

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Two seconds of googling, but this number should be on the fridge of every parent:

For a poison emergency in the U.S. call 1-800-222-1222

bored_simon June 2, 2013, 10:07am

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Yes     No