What are the symptoms of poisoning?

Poisoning symptoms can run the gamut, depending on the type and amount of poison someone has come in contact with or ingested. In some cases, such as a small overdose of over-the-counter pain relievers, people will have no symptoms of poisoning. Vomiting is a common symptom of many poisonings, as the body tries to rid itself of the toxic substance. Other common symptoms include pain, weakness, confusion, breathing problems, nausea, and tiredness.

It can be difficult to know when someone has been poisoned. The symptoms depend on the poison. Still, there are some things that may lead you to suspect poisoning. For example:
  • Chemical-smelling breath or a strange smell on the clothes or skin
  • Burns or rash around the mouth or on the skin
  • Trouble breathing
  • Throwing up, nausea, or stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea or trouble controlling urination (peeing)
  • Passing out (especially if near a furnace, a car, a fire, or in a place with little or no fresh air)
  • A slightly blue or gray color in the lips
  • Cough or feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or change in heartbeat
  • Confusion, dizziness, or trouble seeing straight
  • Sleepiness or weakness
  • Headache
  • Loss of feeling or tingling in a part of the body
  • Muscle twitching or jerking
These symptoms are more likely to be from poisoning if they happen suddenly for no clear reason. Also, in a child, you may see a clue. For example, you may see an empty container nearby, or a bit of the poison still in the child's mouth or hand.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.