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First Aid & Emergencies

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Cyanide Poisoning Treatment

Call 911 if: 

  • You are sure the person was exposed to cyanide.

  • You are sure the person was exposed to cyanide.

If you are not sure it is cyanide, call Poison Control at 800-222-1222.

Treat the person as follows, depending on whether cyanide was inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin:

1. Treat Inhalation or Ingestion

  • Get the person to fresh air immediately.
  • If you can't get away from the area where cyanide gas is, stay low to the ground.
  • If the person has difficulty breathing or has stopped breathing, do hands-only CPR:

2. Treat Skin Exposure

Avoid touching a person whose skin has been exposed to cyanide; only emergency personnel with special protective clothing should have direct contact with the victim, as secondary contamination is possible.

3. Treat Eye Exposure

  • Immediately irrigate eyes with plain water for at least 10 minutes.
  • Put contact lenses in a plastic bag for emergency personnel to dispose of.
  • Glasses may be used after washing with soap and water.

4. Follow Up

  • At the hospital, the person will be treated with antidotes and oxygen.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on September 12, 2015

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