What Happens if You Eat Rat Poison?

Various types of ingredients are present in rat poison that work in combination to kill rats or rodents, but these ingredients may also prove fatal to human beings if ingested. The time required for appearance of symptoms depends on the quantity of poison consumed by an individual and the total amount of time elapsed since it has been ingested. You should note that rat poisoning symptoms may appear without ingesting rat poison. This is due to the fact that warfarin is present in both rat poison and in medicines used as blood thinners.

What Happens if a Person Eats Rat Poison?

1. Bleeding

Warfarin that is present in rat poisons is an anticoagulant and it may result in bleeding or hemorrhage several days post ingestion of the poison. The person may develop sudden bleeding from gums or nose, which cannot be controlled easily. Large bruises may develop on the body of the individual. Blood may also be seen in stools and urine. The person may also vomit blood. Furthermore, the individual may easily bruise and even small cuts or abrasions may require longer than average to heal. Bruising may result from contact with normal everyday items. In females, bruising may occur beneath their straps of bra. Bruising may also be noticed under watches, rings or waistbands. Due to internal bleeding, symptoms of low blood pressure and pallor may appear. Bleeding may reduce red blood cells resulting in anemia. Dizziness, shortness of breath, cold feet and hands, headache, rapid heartbeat and fatigue may occur. If bleeding occurs in the brain, it may result in symptoms of lethargy, agitation or confusion.

2. Cardiopulmonary Symptoms

The rat poison zinc phosphide, if ingested, can result in symptoms of chest tightness, cough and difficulty in breathing. It may also cause pulmonary edema, a condition in which fluid accumulates in the lungs. Poisoning with zinc phosphide may also result in irregular heartbeat, heart muscle weakening and cardiomyopathy.

3. Convulsions

What happens if a person eats rat poison? According to warning issued by NPIC (National Pesticide Information Center), Strychnine, a poison that is approved to be handled by only trained personnel may result in severe convulsions, if a person ingests it. The convulsions occur within 16-20 minutes post ingestion of the poison. Ingesting zinc phosphide may also result in severe convulsions.

4. Liver Failure

Zinc phosphide ingestion may cause damage to liver, resulting in symptoms of jaundice such as yellowish discoloration of white of eyes and skin. It can also lead to coma as a result of encephalopathy. Liver failure leads to buildup of toxin in the brain resulting in brain damage with serious consequences.

5. Shock

In case there is continuation of internal bleeding, shock occurs due to reduced volume of blood or hypovolemia. The symptoms are difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure, reduced output of urine, apprehension, sweating, low temperature of body, loss of consciousness and brain or kidney damage. You may eventually develop coma and even death. Poisoning with zinc phosphide may also result in occurrence of a shock reaction.

6. Symptoms of the Gastrointestinal Tract

What happens if a person eats rat poison? Gastrointestinal symptoms of ingesting rat poison are vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. The stools and vomitus may be streaked with blood in some of the cases of rat poisoning. You may also develop indigestion and abdominal cramps. In case you have ingested a large quantity of rat poison, then you may experience these symptoms suddenly; however, in case you ingest small quantity of rat poison daily, then you may experience these symptoms gradually in a few days.

7. Other Symptoms of Rat Poisoning

Rat poisoning may produce some less common signs and symptoms as well. These are fever, hair loss, nerve damage, restlessness, lethargy, chills, nasal complications and dementia. Some of the serious complications that occur due to rat poisoning include respiratory distress, heart attack, troubled breathing and death. You should visit the emergency department if you experience these symptoms.

What to Do in Case of Rat Poison

If you suspect rat poison ingestion, by discovering a rat poison container spilled in a cabinet or potentially contaminated food, or by noticing symptoms such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, bloody diarrhea, extensive bruising, fatigue or shortness of breath, call Poison Control or 911. Immediate medical attention is required.

Syrup of ipecac and activated charcoal are available OTC (over the counter) to treat rat poison ingestion immediately. However, you should never use syrup of ipecac or activated charcoal unless you are directed by the Poison Control to do so.

How to Prevent Ingestion of Rat Poison

As of year 2011, baits for killing rodents should be sold in block form and not loose bait or as pellets and it should be present inside a bait station that is tamper-proof.

In case you have some older types of rat poison in your house, dispose it off and get the safer type of bait. 

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