Rat poison products generally kill rats by causing them to bleed to death internally. Thus one of the key ingredients in rat poison is typically an anticoagulant, which promotes the thinning of the blood in rats. Anticoagulants also have the same effect on the blood of humans.
Signs of Rat Poisoning in Humans
Observable signs of rat poisoning in humans can include external blood on the orifices of the body (mouth, nose and rectum), as well as bruising on limbs and other body parts.
Symptoms of Rat Poisoning in Humans
Vomiting blood or blood in the urine or stool are symptoms of rat poisoning. However, these symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions as well, so a physician will need to determine the actual cause. Other symptoms that may be experienced due to rat poisoning can include bruising and bleeding, low blood pressure and shock. Most of these symptoms are serious and should be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible. If rat poisoning is suspected, or the person is definitely known to have ingested it, the poison control center should be contacted right away.
One of the reasons that rat poisoning pellets work so well in killing rats is due to its delayed effect. For example, a rat ingests the poison on the first day, but it isn't until several days later that it dies from the poison's effect on its body. Therefore, since the rat did not experience any painful side effects the first or second day, it continues to eat the very item that will kill it by the third day. This delayed effect is also true for humans who ingest rat poison.
When an adult realizes that a child has ingested rat poison accidentally, she may wrongly assume that the lack of any symptoms immediately following the ingestion indicates that no serious harm has been done, especially if the child did not ingest much of the poison. However, serious symptoms--even death--may not occur until another day or two has passed (and up to 2 weeks in some cases). Therefore, any ingestion of rat poison by a human needs medical attention right away, especially if it is a small child who may not be able to articulate the symptoms or total ingestion amounts.
Poison Control Center
If you suspect someone has ingested rat poison, you can reach the National Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 in the United States 24 hours a day, seven days a week.