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Symptoms and Signs of Poisoning

Doctor's Notes on Poisoning

Poisoning is the condition in which the body is affected by any type of poison. Poisons are substances that are harmful to the body. There are many different kinds of poison. Some substances are harmless in normal amounts but may be poisonous at high levels. Types of poisons include metals such as mercury or lead, pesticides, certain plants, medications taken at doses that are too high, alcohol, illegal drugs, carbon monoxide, household cleaners, and other chemicals and substances found in industrial settings.

The symptoms of poisoning depend on the specific poison. Therefore, signs and symptoms of poisoning in general are quite varied. Examples include difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness or confusion, agitation, and a chemical smell on the breath. Other associated signs and symptoms may be seizures, a bluish discoloration of the skin, slow or irregular breathing, and unconsciousness.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.