Common Poisons And Treatments Symptoms Poisoning

Poisoning can happen after you’ve been exposed to any of a variety of substances. Some of the most common types of poisoning are alcohol poisoning, food poisoning, and lead poisoning. Each type of poisoning has different symptoms. Being aware of the symptoms of different kinds of poisoning can help you know when you or someone you know needs to seek medical treatment.

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning typically affects teens and college students, though it can happen to anyone at any age — according to the Mayo Clinic, people between the ages of 45 and 54 account for the majority of deaths from alcohol poisoning.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning can be severe, and in some cases can lead to a coma or death. Common symptoms of alcohol poisoning are:

  • Confusion
  • Hypothermia
  • Irregular or slow breathing
  • Low body temperature
  • Passing out
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting.

Symptoms of poisoning linked to alcohol often require immediate medical attention. If you suspect someone may be experiencing alcohol poisoning, call 911. Don’t assume that someone will simply be able to “sleep it off,” and don’t leave an unconscious person alone. People with alcohol poisoning may pass out and choke on their own vomit.

Food Poisoning Symptoms

Food poisoning most often occurs when you eat or drink food that has been contaminated with bacteria, a virus or parasites. In order to prevent food contamination, it’s important to check expiration dates on your food, store food properly, wash all fruits and vegetables before eating, and fully cook meat and eggs. It’s also important to wash your hands thoroughly before cooking and eating.

Some of the most common food poisoning symptoms are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness.

Food poisoning symptoms tend to be relatively mild and usually ease after a couple of days. However, some people may become dehydrated, develop a fever or have other symptoms that require emergency medical treatment. People with weakened immune systems, infants and small children, elderly adults, and pregnant women are at particular risk of food poisoning.

Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning can occur when you are exposed to lead in the air, water, soil, lead-based paints, and some toys or cosmetic products. Children under the age of six are especially susceptible to lead poisoning, though it can affect people of any age.

Symptoms of poisoning linked to lead include:

  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Problems learning
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss.

Unfortunately, lead builds up in the body gradually over time, and symptoms of lead poisoning can be hard to detect. It’s important to remove the source of the contamination to treat lead poisoning. In severe cases, chelation therapy or EDTA therapy may be used.

Symptoms of poisoning can affect your physical and mental health. It’s important to be aware of what causes poisoning and to avoid poisonous substances. If you or someone you know does experience symptoms of poisoning, speak with your doctor about treatments and how to prevent future poisonings.

Resources

College Drinking Prevention. (2007). Facts about alcohol poisoning. Retrieved May 2, 2010, from http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/OtherAlcoholInformation/factsAboutAlcoholPoisoning.aspx.

Emedicine Health. (n.d.). Food poisoning. Retrieved May 2, 2010, from http://www.emedicinehealth.com/food_poisoning/page3_em.htm.

Mayo Clinic. (2009). Lead poisoning symptoms. Retrieved May 2, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lead-poisoning/FL00068/DSECTION=symptoms.

Mayo Clinic. (2008). Alcohol poisoning symptoms. Retrieved May 2, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alcohol-poisoning/DS00861/DSECTION=symptoms.

Medline Plus. (n.d.). Lead poisoning. Retrieved May 2, 2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/leadpoisoning.html.

Medline Plus. (n.d.). Food poisoning. Retrieved May 2, 2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001652.htm.