Poison is one of the most effective tools of the assassin, and yet the vast majority of people give almost no thought to protecting themselves. A few drops of the right common household chemicals in the coffee mug you left carelessly on your desk at work could give you a very bad day, land you in the hospital, or even kill you. So while it's not likely that most of us experience many assassination attempts, it's only prudent to take a few simple steps to make your life a bit more poison-proof.

1. Never eat or drink anything that someone else selects for you. This includes waiters at restaurants and bartenders.

2. Only purchase products selected randomly from a large collection. If there's only one bag of sugar left on the grocery store shelf, don't take it, it might have been planted there for you to find.

3. Never consume food or drink that have been left unattended.

4. Always inspect cups and dishes for unknown substances before putting food in them.

5. Before eating or drinking, taste a small quantity and evaluate it for impurities. If it tastes unusual, throw it away. If no ill effects result from the taste within a few minutes, it's probably safe to consume the rest of the product.

6. Eat and drink slowly so that if there's any poison you'll have a chance to detect it working before you consume the whole quantity. This practice can save your life, since all poisons require certain dosages to be lethal.

7. Learn how to induce vomiting.

8. Learn which poisons should be treated with induced vomiting and which should not. In general, most poisons should be vomited except those from a petroleum or corrosive chemical product.

9. Carry a small quantity of activated charcoal. After vomiting if necessary, you should drink a large quantity of water mixed with up to five tablespoons of activated charcoal to dilute and absorb the poison.

10. Stay within range of emergency medical personnel and call an ambulance if you think you've been poisoned. But don't trust the medics too far!



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