Poisonous plants when taken into the body of human beings or animals in small or moderate amounts provoke1 a harmful reaction resulting in illness or death. Possibly as many as one of every 100 species of plants is poisonous. Many ornamental plants, such as oleander, lilly-of-the-valley, and mistletoe2, are poisonous.
The poisonous compound may be distributed3 throughout all parts of the plant, or it may accumulate in one part more than any other, such as the root or berry. A plant may vary in toxicity as it grows, generally becoming more toxic with maturity; certain plants, however, can be highly toxic when young and harmless later.
Some active principles cause skin irritation4 directly; others bring about an allergic reaction. Usually more than 60g of the poisonous part of the plant must be eaten by an average adult before poisonous results (the amount is proportionately less for children). Some plants, however, are toxic in small amounts; for instance, one or two castor beans, the seeds of castor-oil plant, may kill a child.
After ingestion5, the poison may act immediately on the digestive tract. Some plants affect the heart (oleander). Plants containing alkaloids often produced unpleasant or dangerous reactions in the nervous system. Examples are paralysis, hallucinations, or heart block. A few poisons act directly within the cells of the body. The best example is cyanide, which prevents cells of the body from using oxygen.
First aid in case of poisoning.
The symptoms of poisoning depend on both the amount of poison ingested and the individualís reaction to the poison.
Action. If the victim6 has eaten a poisonous plant or mushroom, summon7 emergency medical aid immediately. If the victim has been in contact with a poisonous plant, like poison ivy8, ensure that your hands are protected before removing the victimís contaminated9 clothing. Do not touch other parts of the victimís body, especially the eyes. Wash the affected area several times with soap and water. Calamine lotion10 may be applied.
If the Victim Is Conscious11. Ask which plant was eaten. Induce vomiting by giving the patient a glass of syrup of ipecac12. Save any vomit13 for medical analysis. Do not induce14 vomiting if the patient is unconscious.
Give the patient milk or water to drink in order to dilute the poison left in the body.
If the Victim Is Unconscious. Place the victim in the recovery position. Do not leave the victim alone. Do not give the victim food or drink or induce vomiting.
If the victim stops breathing, give artificial resuscitation15.
If poisoning is suspected, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Exercise 1. Translate from English into Russian the following word combinations:
to provoke a harmful reaction; to become more toxic with maturity; to bring about an allergic reaction; the amount of poison ingested; the affected area; to induce vomiting; to place the victim in the recovery position; to give artificial resuscitation.
Exercise 2. Make the right option.
1. Which of the following is not true?
A. If you try a bit of a poisonous plant, you may get ill or die.
B. Many ornamental plants may be harmful.
C. Poisonous compounds may accumulate only in a certain part of the plant.
2.Poisonous plant can affect everything except ______.
A. the nervous system
B. the blood
C. the heart
D. the skin
3.In the passage the author ______.
A. gives a short description of poisonous plants, the symptoms of poisoning and first-aid help in case of poisoning.
B. prevents from using poisonous plants as they may cause allergic reactions and even death.
C. does not advise to cultivate poisonous plants because of toxic principles in them.
D. tells the reader about the geographical location, habitual properties and botanical relationship of poisonous plants.
Exercise 3. Answer the following questions:
1. In what case poisonous plants provoke a harmful reaction in human beings or animals?
2. How many species of plants are poisonous?
3. In what parts of plants may the poisonous compound be distributed?
4. Must most poisons enter the body before they act?
5. What reactions do toxins produce in a victim?
6. What do the symptoms of poisoning depend on?
Exercise 4. Enumerate the main measures to be taken to help the victim who has eaten a poisonous plant or mushroom.
Exercise 5. Read the texts and translate them using a dictionary.