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Poisoning is an adverse reaction that occurs when a person is exposed to a toxic substance. It can be due to inhaling, swallowing, touching or injecting harmful substances into the body. Exposure to poisonous products and substances can cause temporary or permanent damage to the health of an individual. Severe poisoning may cause damage to the nervous system, which results in brain damage, coma, and death.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of poisoning depend upon the amount and type of poison that affected the person. The general symptoms of poisoning include:
The following are the severe poisoning symptoms that can result in disability or brain damage:
The poisoning is caused due to the following:
Animal venom: Most of the venomous animals such as poisonous snakes, spiders, and deadly scorpions can cause poisoning.
Toxic substances: Automobile exhausts such as carbon monoxide, gasoline, pesticides, and other heavy metals can cause severe poisoning.
Household cleansers: Accidental or deliberate intake of household chemicals, such as detergents, drain cleaners, etc. can cause poisoning.
Foods: Contaminated foods, mushrooms, fungus molds and allergens can also lead to poisoning.
Intentional poisoning: Self-poisoning, chemical or drug abuse can increase the risk of intentional poisoning.
Some of the other common substances that cause poisoning are certain herbal medicines, paints, cosmetics, alcohol, and batteries.
There are many risk factors that lead to poisoning, but the most common risk factors include:
Poisoning can include many hidden complications and secondary medical conditions that can affect major organs such as the heart, respiratory system, kidney, and liver. In severe conditions, complications of poisoning can affect the central nervous system. Prolonged exposure to certain chemicals can cause severe complications; these may include:
Immediate diagnosis is required to determine the underlying cause and prevent further complications. The diagnosis is based on the type of poisoning. The doctor may first perform a thorough physical examination and checks for the possible signs and symptoms of poisoning. Further diagnostic testing includes:
Blood test: A sample of your blood is collected to identify the toxic levels in the blood. The blood serum levels help in determining the level of toxicity.
Stool examination: If the doctor suspects parasitic infection then stool samples are examined to identify the causative organism that led to food poisoning.
Imaging tests: Imaging studies such as CT scan is recommended to identify if the symptoms due to the other illnesses.
Poisoning needs an emergency treatment, which can cause death if it is left untreated. The treatment for poisoning typically depends upon the severity of the symptoms.
The following are the possible treatment methods to treat poisoning:
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