In 1910, the Committee of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa, appointed to investigate cyanide poisoning, recommend as an antidote to Cyanide Poisoning the following:
- Thirty cc of a 23 per cent, solution of ferrous sulphate.
- Thirty cc of a 5 per cent, solution of caustic potash.
- Two grams of powdered oxide of magnesium (light).
In every cyanide-room there should be kept three boxes, containing—
- A metal receptacle to hold about a pint, and a spoon.
- A blue hermetically sealed phial, containing 30 cc of a 33 per cent, solution of ferrous sulphate.
- A white phial, hermetically sealed, containing 30 cc of caustic potash.
- A packet of oxide of magnesium (light).
Preparation of Antidote
Quickly empty the contents of the blue phial, of the white phial, and of the magnesia package into the metal receptacle, and stir well with the spoon. This should be done as rapidly as possible, as the patient’s chance of life depends on promptness.
Administration of the Antidote
If the patient is conscious, make him swallow the mixture at once and lie down for a few minutes. If the patient is not conscious, place him on his back and pour the mixture down his throat in small quantities, if necessary pinching his nose in order to make him swallow.
After the antidote has been given, try to make the patient vomit by tickling the back of his throat with a feather or with the finger, or give a tumblerful of warm water and mustard.
NOTE.—It must always be kept in mind that promptness of action is the first essential, as the poison acts quickly.
The box of remedies should never be removed from its place, but always kept complete and ready for an emergency. It is advisable to keep the remedies in duplicate in case of the accidental breaking of a sealed bottle.
In all cases of cyanide poisoning medical aid should be summoned without delay.
Treatment in ease of Cyanide Poisoning
A coating of oil or kerosene (or rubber gloves) protects the hands from the action of the cyanide solution.
If cyanide solution is swallowed, anything that causes vomiting may be administered, but the action of cyanide is extremely rapid and every second is of value. Freshly precipitated ferrous hydrate, made by mixing oxide of magnesia, caustic potash, and ferrous sulphate, is a useful antidote. The use of nitrate of cobalt has also been suggested, and copious subcutaneous injections of hydrogen peroxide are recommended.
The patient may also be rubbed with camphor and alcohol, or cold water may be dashed upon the skin.
If hydrocyanic acid has been inhaled, an inhalation of ammonia, or chlorine, or ether, should be administered, but respirators should be worn in cases, such as in the acid treatment of gold slimes, where evolution of poisonous gases are probable. Park records the warning that in the acid treatment of gold slimes from arsenical ores, an evolution of arseniuretted hydrogen may occur, and the inhalation of this gas is very deadly, no antidote being known.
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