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A poison which is also called a toxin is defined as a substance which, if taken into the body in sufficient quantity, may cause temporary or permanent damage.
Poisons are not only swallowed or found in food, they are also absorbed through the skin, inhaled, splashed into the eyes, or injected into the body. Once the toxin is in the body, it can get into the bloodstream and be carried quickly to any of the bodies organs and tissues. The speed and way that a poison affects the person will vary depending on the person, type of poison, a method of poisoning, the speed of intake and the amount of the intake.
Swallowed poisons like chemicals, may also harm the digestive tract, or cause more widespread damage like burning damaging, swelling and blistering. This is in addition to the damage they do as they enter the bloodstream or transported to other parts of the body.
These chemicals include many common household chemicals used in cleaning such as detergents and bleaches.
Drugs are included in chemical poisons, these can be in any form whether prescription, over the counter or illegal drugs. The effects of poisoning depend on the substance that has been swallowed.
Signs and symptoms of poisoning will depend on the types of poison, but may include:
The treatment is first to identify what they have taken, ask them what they have swallowed:
If the casualty becomes unconscious:
DO NOT induce vomiting as this can cause more damage as the vomit, and the chemical, then cover the whole respiratory tract, mouth and inside the nose causing respiratory problems.
Food poisoning is usually caused by eating food or drink that is contaminated with bacteria or viruses and can develop within hours or maybe a day after eating the contaminated food. Some food poisoning is caused by poisons from bacteria already in the food. The salmonella or E. coli group of bacteria, which are found mainly in meat, are common causes of food poisoning. The Staphylococcus group of bacteria can cause toxic food poisoning within two to six hours of eating the contaminated food.
One serious problem with food poisoning is dehydration. This is because body fluids are lost and not replaced quickly enough. This is especially serious for the young and old or in hot climates. In serious cases, this has to be treated in hospital.
Signs and symptoms of food poisoning include:
Treatment is to encourage the patient to rest and give them plenty of fluids. The use of re-hydration powders mixed with water can also help. You may need to seek medical assistance if needed and sometimes food poisoning will result in hospitalisation.
Finally, if someone has had food poisoning, you also need to ensure that no one else is affected and in some cases, it would need to be reported to the authorities or employers.