Public Safety Training Facility
Monroe Community College
Rochester, New York
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES TRAINING COURSES
Adults are almost never given Ipecac any more! Only rarely is Ipecac used in children. So stock up on the charcoal as it is the more modern approach to treating toxic emergencies!
A Better Charcoal Product: CharcoAid G
Super Activated Charcoal in granules. Poison Treatment for children and adults to adsorb most swallowed poisons or drugs.
Only CharcoAid-G contains super-activated charcoal shown in clinical studies to be two to four times more powerful than competitive products in adsorbing several drugs. The granules have been specially formulated to improve the taste and mouth-feel, making it easier for children to take. Charco-G is specially processed for medicinal uses. It is extremely pure and many times more powerful than regular charcoal preparations. Charco-G can be mixed with carbonated beverages without loss of effectiveness (a real plus when administering it to kids). Not all charcoal preparations can be mixed with soda pop.
Charred wood, charcoal briquettes, or burnt toast are not the same. Under a microscope Activated Charcoal looks like tiny sponge particles with many holes and nooks and crannies called pores. These pores trap and hold poison molecules. Activated Charcoal is very black and gritty There will probably be resistance to drinking it. Try to keep the patient from seeing the solution or looking in a mirror when their mouth and tongue are coated black. Minimize the gritty mouth-feel by repeatedly shaking the closed bottle and adding more water or soda pop. Soda helps a lot. Dark soda pop (cola or root beer) is recommended to best mask the color and bland taste of charcoal. The product comes with a straw that fits in a small opening so that the patient can not see what they are drinking.
When Calling Medical Control be ready to answer these questions:
What is the poison? How was it exposed? (swallowed, inhaled, eye splash)
How much poison was taken? How long ago?
What is the victim's condition and level of consciousness?
Vital signs, including lung sounds
What is the victim's age, weight, sex?
Do they have any chronic health problems?
Has the victim recently taken any medication?
Name of victim?
Your location, and phone number
Tell Medical Control or Poison Control that you have CharcoAid-G available for treatment.
The bottle contains 15 grams of Super-Activated Charcoal, which is the usual dose for one child under 6 years old. Most often the amount of charcoal given is ten times the amount of poison ingested.
Unscrew the lid and add soda pop or drinking water to fill line indicated on the label. Some overfill is not a problem but do not underfill. Try to keep the victim from seeing the black charcoal. (Soda pop may foam up. Put on lid and shake a little, then reopen lid and add more soda pop. Repeat until liquid reaches fill line.)
Replace the lid and shake very vigorously for at least 30 seconds.
Open flip-top and insert straw and have the victim drink as quickly as possible.
If the product gets too gritty, add more soda or water and shake again. The charcoal settles quickly so do not let time elapse before the patient starts to drink.
If the patient has been given ipecac syrup, do not give CharcoAid-G until after the patient has finished vomiting unless directed by Medical Control.
Do not use in persons who are not fully conscious, or unable to drink.
Do not use this product if turpentine, or other petroleum distillates, such as kerosene, gasoline, paint thinner, cleaning fluid, or furniture polish, or corrosives, such as toilet bowl cleaners, lye (alkaloids), strong acids, or for heavy metals such as lead, iron, or lithium unless directed by Medical Control or a Poison Control Specialist.
The patient's mouth will be black with the charcoal grit. It is best if this is rinsed and swallowed. The patient's stools will be black for a while. This is the charcoal passing through the digestive tract (it is not absorbed into the bloodstream). If the patient becomes constipated a laxative may be used following your doctor's advice. If excess intestinal gas occurs it may be because the charcoal has absorbed or displaced intestinal bacteria. This should correct itself in one or two days and sometimes eating a little yogurt helps.
EMSers remember that charcoal by its very nature, tends to bind strongly to most everything. This means a spill or vomiting will severely stain uniforms, carpets, and furniture.
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Updated: October 13, 1998