What’s your poison?

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What’s your poison?

Just the other day I got a call from incredulous parents who’s child had in a split second opened a bottle of cleaning liquid whilst a back was turned to put in another bottle to the normally child proofed cupboard. Did the child drink out of the bottle? Had there been time? What’s your poison?

One would have thought not but one wouldn’t have expected all the rest to happen in a blink of an eye either; but it did. Reading a Spanish label at a time like this can be daunting so I was happy to help when a photograph of the product and explanation of the situation arrived. I’m even happier I was there to receive it immediately and to now share this information with you in case it ever comes up.

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When facing poisoning by bleach or other toxic household items apparently the most important thing is not to panic, duh! and not to vomit! This perhaps was not such an obvious move. One might think that getting it out of the system would be a first step to take, but it’s not.

Apparently the fumes of the “whatever” can be more detrimental than anything else as they can be inhaled and choke on the vomit. If the poisonous stuff can cause burns then you could also burn the throat and mouth also. One of the first things to do is ring the emergency number on the back of the product.

In this instance it was floor cleaner W5. There were instructions of what to do if you got the product in your eyes but not if you drank it. However there was a telephone number to ring, which I did. The lady that answered was most helpful. The first indication was not to let the child vomit and keep the child still. Next they asked for the brand and when she heard that it was W5I could hear her physically relax over the phone.


A yogurt with a tea spoon of olive oil was the recommendation and little sips of water. No need to go to the doctors but important to keep the child still and no vomiting. Slight diarrhoea was to be expected later on–due to the olive oil–but nothing else. This child probably hadn’t ingested any of the cleaning liquid but obviously in the uncertainty, all measures were taken.

Not all situations or products are so harmless. Ammonia and bleach being amongst the worst, particularly if mixed with other cleaning products as this can create toxic gases. All chemical products do have an emergency contact number on them to call if an issue arises but obviously if you are in Spain and you don’t speak Spanish, at least make sure you know someone who does.


Prevention is better than cure so please do be thoughtful when storing medications and cleaning products and never under estimate a child’s ability or agility.

Keep well, keep safe and keep in touch!

Thank you for reading this column, “What’s your poison?”. For more, visit the Euro Weekly News website.




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