Common Poisons And Treatments Adults

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, more than two million possible poisonings are reported to poison centers throughout the United States each year. And, kids aren’t the only ones affected; over 70 percent of fatal poisonings occur in adults aged 20 to 59 years old.

Common Poisons That Affect Adults

Just as certain poisons most commonly affect children, several types of poisons (including household poison) are likely to affect adults. Poison centers report an association between the following ten common poisons and adult ingestion:

  • Alcohols
  • Antidepressants
  • Cardiovascular drugs
  • Chemicals
  • Cleaning products
  • Cosmetics and personal care products
  • Food products
  • Pain medications
  • Pesticides
  • Sedatives, hypnotics and antipsychotics.

Although each of these is a common poison that you may use or encounter on a daily basis, certain preventative measures will ensure that these poisons don’t adversely affect your health.

Common Poison Prevention

You can take steps each day to help prevent a poisoning accident and to keep you and your loved ones safe from potentially hazardous products. Specific poison prevention measures vary depending on the type of product; be sure to post the Poison Control Centers’ national hotline number, 1-800-222-1222, close to your phone.

To properly use medications, you should observe important safety tips, such as:

  • Be aware of any possible interactions with other drugs, food or alcohol.
  • Get rid of expired medicine.
  • Never share your prescriptions.
  • Read medication labels and follow the instructions for safe use.
  • Use medication only for its intended purpose.

To keep yourself safe from chemicals and household products you can take several precautions, including:

  • Don’t mix chemicals together.
  • Keep chemical products in their original containers; never store them in food or drink containers.
  • Provide adequate ventilation when using these products.
  • Read directions and caution labels.
  • Store household products and chemicals away from food.
  • Wear protective clothing (gloves, long sleeved shirt) when using chemicals.

You may want to consider switching to non-toxic and safe cleaning products to decrease your exposure to poisonous chemicals. Look for the Design for the Environment (DfE) label to find products that are safer for you and the environment.

Chemical and Household Poison Treatment

If you or someone close to you does swallow something poisonous, it’s important to spit out any of the remaining substance right away. Do not, however, try to induce vomiting or use syrup of ipecac as treatment.

In most cases, symptoms of poisoning can be mild and may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting.

But if the poisoning is severe, these symptoms can lead to seizures or even death. If the victim collapses or stops breathing, call 911 immediately. Otherwise, contact Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) for assistance.


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American Association of Poison Control Centers. (n.d.). Poison prevention tips for adults. Retrieved May 16, 2010, from

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. (n.d.). Poison prevention tips. Retrieved May 16, 2010, from

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