Poisoning is the harmful effect that occurs when a toxic substance is swallowed, is inhaled, or comes in contact with the skin, eyes, or the mouth. Almost any substance ingested in large quantities can be toxic. Common sources of poisons include drugs, household products, agricultural products, plants, industrial chemicals, and food substances. Identifying the poison and accurately assessing its danger are important to successful treatment.

Common Poisons

Poisoning can be an accident or a deliberate attempt to commit murder or suicide. Children, especially those under age 3, are particularly at risk to accidental poisoning, as are the elderly (from confusion about their medications), hospitalized patients (from medication errors), and industrial workers (from exposure to toxic chemicals). Symptoms The symptoms of poisoning depend on the poison, the amount ingested, and certain characteristics of the person who takes it.

Some poisons aren't very potent and require prolonged exposure or repeated ingestion of a large amount to cause a problem. Others are so powerful that just a drop on the skin can cause serious damage. Genetic makeup may affect whether a substance is poisonous to a particular person. Some normally non-poisonous substances are poisonous for people who have a certain hereditary makeup.

Age may affect how much of a substance can be taken-in before poisoning occurs. For example, a young child can take in larger amounts of a drug like acetaminophen before becoming ill from it than an adult can. Symptoms may be minor but troublesome such as itching, dry mouth, blurred vision, and pain or they. may be serious such as confusion, coma, abnormal heart rhythms, difficulty in breathing, and severe agitation.

Some poisons produce symptoms within seconds, while others produce symptoms only after hours or even days. Some poisons produce few obvious signs until they have permanently damaged the function of vital organs such as the liver or kidneys. Thus, the symptoms of poisoning are as many as the poisons themselves. Diagnosis Family members or coworkers of poisoning victims can start first aid while waiting for professional help.

They should determine whether the victim is breathing and has a heartbeat and should begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) an emergency technique to revive somebody whose heart has stopped beating that involves clearing the person airways and then alternating heart compression with mouth-to-mouth respiration if needed. Because treatment is best accomplished when the poison is known, containers and samples of vomit should be saved and given to the doctor.

When the poison isn’t known, doctors try to identify it with laboratory tests. A blood test may help, but analysis of a urine sample is usually more helpful. Doctors may remove material from the stomach by suctioning and send it to the laboratory to be analyzed and identified.


This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited


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