Recognition and Management of Acute Pesticide Poisoning - Article

ABSTRACT: Most poisonings from pesticides do not have a specific antidote, making decontamination the most important intervention. For maximal benefit to the patient, skin, eye, and gastric decontamination should be undertaken while specifics of the poisoning are being determined. As in most illnesses and injuries, the history of the poisoning is of great importance and will determine specific needs for decontamination and therapy, if any exist. Protection of health care workers during the decontamination process is important and frequently overlooked. Skin decontamination is primarily accomplished with large volumes of water, soap, and shampoo. Gastric decontamination by lavage is indicated if ingestion of the poisoning has occurred within 60 minutes of patient presentation. Activated charcoal, combined with a cathartic, is also indicated in most poisonings presenting within 60 minutes of ingestion. With large volume ingestion poisonings, activated charcoal may be used after 60 minutes, but little data exist to support this practice. Syrup of ipecac is no longer recommended for routine use. The cholinergic syndrome "all faucets on" characterizes poisoning by organophosphates and carbamates. Organochlorine insecticides (lindane and other treatments for scabies and lice) can produce seizures with excessive use or use on large areas of nonintact skin. Non-dipyridyl herbicides, biocides (including pyrethrins, pyrethroids, and Bacillus thuringiensis) rarely produce anything other than mild skin, eye, and/or gastrointestinal irritation on topical exposure or ingestion.

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