Fact Checked

Millions of poisonings are reported to poison control centres every year, with many deaths.

It is important to note that just because a package does not have a warning label doesn’t mean it is safe. You should consider poisoning if someone suddenly becomes sick for no apparent reason.

In the context of biology, poisons are substances that cause disturbances to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism. Some poison signpoisons are also toxins, a substance which, if taken into the body in sufficient quantity, may cause temporary or permanent damage, such as the bacterial proteins that cause tetanus and botulism.

To learn to recognize and manage individuals with suspected poisoning enrol in St Mark James first aid and CPR training.


Animal poisons that are delivered subcutaneously (e.g. by sting or bite) are also called venom. Usually a sting from a bee, wasp, and hornet are not serious and are more painful than dangerous. But with any insect bite or sting it is important to look for signs of an allergic reaction.

Swallowed poisons are chemicals that are swallowed may harm the digestive tract, or cause more widespread damage if they enter the bloodstream and are transported to other parts of the body.

Food poisoning comes from eating foods that contain germs like bad bacteria or toxins, which are poisonous substances. Some food poisoning is caused by poisons (toxins) 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.

Symptoms may develop rapidly (within hours), or they may not occur until a day or so after eating contaminated food.

Some of the most common bacteria are:

  • • Salmonella
  • • Listeria
  • • Campylobacter
  • • E. coli

Drug poisoning is a toxic effects caused by an administered drug. It can result from an overdose of either prescribed drugs or drugs that are bought over the counter. It can also be caused by drug abuse or drug interaction. The effects vary depending on the type of drug and how it is taken.

Alcohol poisoning (chemical name, ethanol) is a drug that depresses the activity of the central nervous system – in particular, the brain.

Your body can only process one unit of alcohol an hour. Drink a lot in a short space of time and the amount of alcohol in the blood can stop the body from working properly.


  • • Carbon monoxide gas (from furnaces, gas engines, fires, space heaters)
  • • Certain foods
  • • Chemicals in the workplace
  • • Drugs, including over-the-counter and prescription medicines (such as an aspirin overdose) and illicit drugs such as cocaine
  • • Household detergents and cleaning products
  • • Household and outdoor plants (eating toxic plants)
  • • Insecticides
  • • Paints


  • • Abdominal pain
  • • Bluish lips
  • • Chest pain
  • • Confusion
  • • Cough
  • • Diarrhea
  • • Difficulty breathing
  • • Dizziness
  • • Double vision
  • • Drowsiness
  • • Fever
  • • Headache
  • • Heart palpitations
  • • Irritability
  • • Loss of appetite
  • • Loss of bladder control
  • • Muscle twitching
  • • Nausea and vomiting
  • • Numbness or tingling
  • • Seizures
  • • Shortness of breath
  • • Skin rash or burns
  • • Stupor
  • • Unconsciousness
  • • Unusual breath odor
  • • Weakness


As with any type of poisoning, the rescuer should always start with the initial assessment and treat any life-threatening problems before continuing. Once all life-threats are taken care of, then the poison should be removed carefully.

In a nutshell we can say that first aid training is something that is of utmost importance these days. It is better to stay prepared to meet any incidence that can take away your loved one. At the same time it is necessary that the first aid training institute (register here) that you are planning to join is credible and authentic.

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