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Poisnous Plants  RSS feed

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This week I am writing a series of articles about poisonous plants for the school where I work. I had the great opportunity to call and talk to the Seattle Poison control expert about what they tell people to do if they eat a poisonous plant. Here are some of the things I gathered from my interview as well as from Peterson's Field Guide to Venomous Animals and Poisonous Plants:

1. Stay Calm and Act Fast. If you freak out, you will not think clearly, your pulse escalates and you will hamper the saving of your life.
2. Call Poison Control or 911
3. Make sure you have or know the following:
     -If you know the plant, botanical name is preferred but common name or family will do if that is all             
       you know.
     -How much did you eat, what parts and at what time?
     -Your age and weight
     -Any symptoms

4. You can dilute with water if you are not instructed to throw up. DO NOT induce vomiting unless instructed by a medical professional to do so. Sometimes a plants coming back up can cause more damage than going down.

5. If you go to the emergency room, bring the plant with you!

From all of the resources I have looked at, it seems that young children are the most susceptible to plant and mushroom poisonings. The Seattle based Poison Control center states that this is true, but more adults actually die or seriously harmed by plant poisons for a couple of reasons. One is that kids might try a few berries and survive, where adults will be overconfident about what they are harvesting and consume a whole bunch!  Also, many mushroom poisonings happen with adults from cultures that move here and think they are harvesting plants or mushrooms that are the same species in their homelands.

What do you all think? What are your resources and tips to students when you teach about poisons plants??
Of course proper ID skills and a good mentor....I try to teach this part of my classes without instilling fear...what do you do??
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6680
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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    My brother who may be an undiagnosed schizophrenic lives out in the bush and is constantly making tea from unidentified plants. He's latched onto the idea that drug companies are trying to bleed us dry financially so he's going to save us all with his magic potions. I've had zero luck in dissuading him from this dangerous practice. Luckily we live in coastal BC an area with plenty of safe plants. If we lived in a semi- desert area or rain forest I'm sure he'd be dead already.
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