Insecticide poisoning - Symptoms, causes and treatment

Insecticide poisoning is a condition that occurs when large amounts of insect venom are swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed into the skin. This condition is classified as dangerous, and must receive medical attention immediately.

Insecticide is a type of pesticide that is specifically intended as an insect repellent. Sometimes, insecticides are also used as a mixed solution for fogging mosquito. This compound can be found in household products, such as toilet deodorizer and insect repellent. In agriculture, insecticides are also used as pest control.

There are several types of insecticides that can cause poisoning, including organophosphates, paradichlorobenzene, and carbamate. While other types of insecticides, such as pyrethrin and pyrethroids, rarely causes poisoning, except when inhaled in large quantities.

Causes and Risk Factors of Insecticide Poisoning

Insecticide poisoning occurs when insect venom is accidentally ingested or inhaled. In addition, insecticides that are absorbed into the skin can also cause poisoning. Although it can be experienced by anyone, insecticide poisoning is more risky for someone who lives or works on a farm, who uses insect venom as a pest control.

Insecticide poisoning can also occur when a person attempts suicide, intentionally inhales or ingests large amounts of insect venom.

Symptoms of Insecticide Poisoning

Insect poisons that enter the body can cause very diverse symptoms, including:

  • Reddish or swollen skin
  • skin irritation
  • Lots of saliva and tears
  • Blue lips and fingertips
  • Dizzy
  • Headache
  • Muscle ache
  • Diarrhea
  • stomach cramps
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Slow heart rate
  • Hard to breathe
  • Wheezing (wheezing)
  • Seizures
  • Paralysed
  • Coma
  • Death

Diagnosis of Insecticide Poisoning

Doctors can suspect a patient has insecticide poisoning if there are a number of symptoms described above. The doctor will also ask for a history of exposure to insect venom, such as how it was entered or the type of insect venom.

Then to confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will check the patient's vital signs, such as body temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. If the patient's condition is classified as an emergency, the doctor will first restore the stability of the patient's condition, among others, by removing the patient's clothes and rinsing the patient's body parts that are exposed to insect venom, along with giving atropine and breathing apparatus.

After the patient's condition is stable, the doctor can carry out further examinations including X-rays, electrocardiogram (ECG), gastroscopy, and bronchoscopy, namely examination of the airways using an elastic tube equipped with a camera.

Insecticide Poisoning Treatment

If you find someone poisoned by insecticide, immediately contact a medical officer. As first aid, don't try to make the victim vomit, unless the medical staff tells you to do so.

If insect venom gets on the victim's skin or eyes, rinse immediately with water, for at least 15 minutes. Remove the victim's clothes if exposed to insect venom. If you accidentally inhale insect venom in the form of gas, immediately take the victim to an open area to get fresh air.

Before contacting medical personnel, try to find out the content of the insecticide product that triggers the poisoning. If poisoning is caused by ingestion, know when it started and how much poison was ingested. This can help medical staff in carrying out further treatment.

To treat insecticide poisoning in hospitals, doctors will take several steps, such as:

  • Administration of drugs by injection into a vein, including atropine. Atropine is useful for maintaining respiratory stability and heart function. Other types of drugs that can be used are: benzodiazepines, used to prevent or stop seizures.
  • Giving intravenous fluids through a vein. The fluids given can be in the form of electrolytes, sugar, or drugs depending on the patient's condition.
  • Giving activated carbon, to prevent toxins from being absorbed by the body.
  • Installation of a breathing apparatus, which is connected to an oxygen pump (ventilator) machine.

Prevention of Insecticide Poisoning

How to prevent insecticide poisoning is the same as preventing pesticide poisoning in general, including:

  • Read the instructions for use listed on the packaging, and use insect venom according to the instructions for use.
  • Use a special tool if you want to stir the insecticide.
  • Do not eat and smoke while using insect venom.
  • Do not spray insect venom when the weather is hot.
  • Protect your nose and mouth with a mask, and wear full-body clothing when using insect venom. It would be better if the clothes worn have a standard of protection against chemicals.
  • Check the container used to hold the insecticide, and do not use it if there is a leak.
  • Immediately wash skin with soap if exposed to insect venom.
  • Wash used clothes after using insecticides.
  • Stay away from water sources if you haven't cleaned yourself after using insect venom.
  • Always close the insecticide storage container, and keep it away from food.
  • Do not use food or drink containers to store insect venom.
  • Bury unused insect venom storage containers. Do not throw it into the river so as not to pollute the water.