Rat poison is used to kill rats. It is also called rodenticide. Rat poison is generally used in areas where there are rats such as homes, garages, farms etc. Rat poison is made of several ingredients. They have one function in common and that is to kill the rat when it ingests. Rat poison ingested by humans can also be lethal. Poisoning in humans can be accidental, suicidal or homicidal.
The ingredients mainly used in rat poison are warfarin, zinc phosphate, arsenic etc. Most rat poisons contain warfarin, a type of blood thinning agent.The symptoms in human appear depending on the type of poison ingested, its amount and number of days. Let us know the side effects of rat poison ingredients and their signs and symptoms as well as treatment.
Side Effects Of Rat Poison In Humans
Side effects of warfarin based rat poison in humans:
- Bleeding: When rat poison is ingested there is sudden and severe bleeding from nose, and other internal organs. Even slight bruise or cut bleeds for a prolonged period of time. This action is because of warfarin present in rat poison. It is a blood thinning agent. Bruising may appear at any pressure sites such as below the breast in the region of bra straps in women. In waist area if a person is wearing a waistband.
- Nausea and vomiting of blood.
- Bleeding in urine and stool.
- Pain in abdomen.
Most rat poisons sold commercially are long acting anticoagulants. The above effect of such anticoagulant may come after few days of ingestion and it progressively worsens. However, if the side effect of rat poison is detected early and treated it may not cause long term damage to the vital organs. Vitamin K is the effective antidote in humans. It is effective if administered in time before the poison damages the circulatory system.
Side effects of zinc phosphide based rat poison in humans:
- Zinc phosphide is also widely used as rodenticide. It appears as grey crystals. It is a fast acting rat poison. When ingested the acid in stomach reacts with it to form a gas called phosphine gas. It damages various body systems mainly the lungs and liver. The symptoms it produces are low blood pressure, breathlessness due to pulmonary edema, seizures, pain in chest, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, reduced urine output, coma and death.
Side effects of arsenic used in rat poison:
- Arsenic is used as rodenticide since hundreds of years. This type of rat poison can severely damage the gastrointestinal tract, heart and nervous system. Patient suffers from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea with blood in stool, garlic taste in mouth etc.
Treatment Options For Rat Poison In Humans
Once a person is known to have consumed rat poison, he must be immediately shifted to an emergency room of the hospital. Always look for the container so that the specific product in rat poison can be identified. Once in the hospital the doctors will secure the airway and see that the patient is hemodynamically stable. Activated charcoal may be used to prevent absorption of remaining ingested toxin. The doctor may also take steps and use medicines to induce vomiting so that the remnant poison in stomach can be flushed out.
In case of anti coagulant based rat poison, vitamin K is used as an antidote. If zinc phosphide is the ingredient of rat poison, patient is given all the supportive treatment because there is no antidote available for it. Patient may need ventilator support if he is having severe breathing difficulty. Blood transfusion may be necessary if there is destruction of red blood cells from phosphine gas.