Common Poisons And Treatments Causes Poisoning

There are a variety of poisons that can affect your health. You may encounter some of these possible poisons almost every day. In some cases, exposure to poisonous substances can lead to a variety of poisoning symptoms. The good news is that many types of poisoning, including lead poisoning and food poisoning, are usually treatable.

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is often caused by food contamination. Whether you’re eating out or making food at home, how the food is processed, stored, shipped and prepared can affect whether it will make you sick. Bacteria, viruses and parasites can contaminate food. If you eat contaminated food, it can cause food poisoning.

In some cases, you may eat contaminated food and experience only mild symptoms, especially if you are relatively healthy. However, severe poisoning can happen to anyone, though some people are more at risk than others. Groups of people at heightened risk for food poisoning include:

  • Infants and small children
  • Older adults
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Pregnant women.

To help treat food poisoning, it’s best to replenish your body’s fluids to avoid dehydration. Drinking small amounts of liquid can help. However, more severe cases of food poisoning require medical treatment.

Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning often affects young children after they are exposed to lead-based paint and dust in older homes. Lead poisoning can also be caused by exposure to certain contaminated toys or other substances, such as unregulated dietary supplements.

Lead poisoning is usually related to environmental factors. Causes of lead poisoning include exposure to contaminated:

  • Dust
  • Lead paint
  • Soil
  • Water.

Some people are at greater risk of lead poisoning, including:

  • Children who live in older homes
  • People who work with and around dust
  • Poor children
  • Pregnant women
  • Young children.

The best treatment for lead poisoning includes removing yourself from the environment causing the poisoning. In some cases, medical treatment, such as chelation therapy and EDTA therapy, are required.

Drug Poisoning

Drug poisoning can occur as a result of taking too much of a prescription or over-the-counter medication, or an overdose of an illegal drug. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 26,000 people died in 2006 as a result of unintentional drug poisoning.

Drugs that may cause poisoning include:

  • Acetaminophen (a common, over-the-counter pain reliever)
  • Benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medication)
  • Beta blockers (often prescribed for heart-related conditions)
  • Certain vitamins, especially overdoses of vitamins A and D
  • Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroin
  • Opioid pain medications, such as oxycodone and methadone
  • Warfarin (an anticoagulant or blood thinner).

Unintentional drug poisonings cause the vast majority of poison-related deaths in the United States, according to the CDC.

Basic precautions, such as proper food preparation, taking medications as prescribed and having your home checked for lead, can help you avoid poisoning. Your doctor can give you more information about the causes of poisoning and help you get the medical treatment you need to relieve the symptoms of poisoning.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Poisoning in the United States. Retrieved May 4, 2010, from http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Poisoning/poisoning-factsheet.htm.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Unintentional drug poisoning in the United States. Retrieved May 4, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Poisoning/brief_full_page.htm.

Emedicinehealth. (n.d). Food poisoning. Retrieved May 1, 2010, from http://www.emedicinehealth.com/food_poisoning/page6_em.htm.

Emedicine Health. (n.d.). Poisoning. Retrieved May 2, 2010, from http://www.emedicinehealth.com/poisoning/article_em.htm.

Mayo Clinic. (2009). Lead poisoning causes. Retrieved May 1, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lead-poisoning/fl00068/dsection=causes.

MedlinePlus. (2010). Lead poisoning. Retrieved May, 1, 2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/leadpoisoning.html.

U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine. (n.d.). Home and traditional remedies and lead poisoning: A fact sheet for health care professionals. Retrieved May 1, 2010, from http://chppm-www.apgea.army.mil/documents/FACT/55-009-0404.pdf.