What is poisoning?

Poisoning occurs once an individual is exposed to a substance that can cause damage to the health and endanger life. In most cases of poisoning, they occur at home among children below 5 years old who face the highest risk for accidental poisoning. In addition, there were cases in which some individuals intentionally poisoned themselves as a deliberate act of self-harm.

Indications of poisoning

The signs and symptoms of poisoning usually depend on the type of poison and the amount ingested by the individual. Generally, these are the symptoms to watch out for if an individual is suspected of poisoning:

  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
    Poisoning

    If there are indications of being seriously sick such as vomiting, drowsiness, loss of consciousness or seizures, call for emergency assistance to request an ambulance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department.

  • Confusion
  • Faintness and drowsiness

In case a child suddenly develops these symptoms, there is a possibility that he/she has been poisoned, especially if confused and drowsy.

What to do for poisoning?

Once you suspect that an individual has been poisoned or overdosed on something, do not treat it yourself since this might only lead to more harm than good. Seek immediate medical help right away.

If there are indications of being seriously sick such as vomiting, drowsiness, loss of consciousness or seizures, call for emergency assistance to request an ambulance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department.

In serious cases, it might be necessary for the individual to be admitted to the hospital. In most cases, those who are admitted due to poisoning survive.

Types of poisons

Poisons can be absorbed via the skin, ingested, inhaled, injected or splashed into the eyes. An overdose on medications is the most common form of poisoning. This can include both prescription and over-the-counter medications. Other potential poisons include the following:

  • Cosmetic products such as nail polish
  • Household products such as bleach
  • Certain types of fungi and plants
  • Household pesticides and chemicals
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Recreational substances or drugs
  • Consumption of alcohol in large amounts over a short period of time
  • Poorly prepared or cooked food and those that have gone moldy or contaminated with bacteria from raw meat

Insects such as bees and wasps as well as snakes are not poisonous, but the stings or bites contain venom. In such cases, individuals who are highly sensitive or allergic will end up with a life-threatening reaction that requires immediate medical care.

How to prevent poisoning

There are various ways that can minimize the risk for poisoning. These include carefully reading the instructions on the packaging and ensure that any poisonous substances are kept in a secure place that is out of sight and reach from children.

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