Chemical poisoning can have varying levels of severity, largely dependent on the amount of chemical consumed or come in contact with, the kind and potency of the chemical as well as the overall state of health of the body. The poisoning occurs when any toxic substance comes in contact with the body and causes some kind of adverse internal reaction.
While most cases will see the substance either inhaled or swallowed, it is also likely that it could be simply caused by the substance coming in contact with the eyes, nose or even skin. People that are exposed to chemicals at their workplace or even people that reside close to industrial installations are always at a higher risk than anyone else to suffer from chemical poisoning while the accidental ingestion of some household chemicals is not uncommon.
Chemical poisoning is defined as the accidental or intentional ingestion of chemicals. Considering that about 3,000 chemicals can cause serious medical conditions, it is a concept that deserves attention. Accidental poisoning is usually caused by household items such as gardening or cleaning products. These are fairly easy to treat as long as they are detected early. On the other hand, chronic or continuous exposure to chemicals may be more difficult to deal with.
Mild poisoning occurs when the body is exposed to small amounts of chemicals or substances that do not have very severe repercussions. Pains and body aches, such as headaches, soreness or joints and even eye irritation, are common. The person may also feel dizzy and weak. Changes in the bodily functions may be indicative of mild chemical poisoning. Diarrhea, loss of appetite and excessive thirst are only some of these types of symptoms.
Moderate poisoning has more serious symptoms that are thus more noticeable than mild cases of chemical poisoning. Some of its symptoms include severe nausea, which can come in waves. Diarrhea and severe stomach cramping are also indicative that a person has ingested chemicals. The body will try to fight off the substances through excessive production of saliva and perspiration. Physically, the skin might have a yellow or orange hue, and the pulse rate may increase.
Severe poisoning is the most dangerous and would require immediate medical attention. It usually occurs from prolonged exposure to chemicals, although it may also happen when the chemical is particularly toxic. Its symptoms include fever and convulsions. The muscles of the body may also twitch uncontrollably . The pupils of the eye may also begin to dilate, and the breathing rate may increase. Finally, loss of consciousness is common during severe chemical poisoning.
Chemical poisoning is not always easy to diagnose. The reason for this is that the symptoms can be quite similar to other medical situations, especially if the person already has a pre-existing condition. Other telltale signs that chemical poisoning has occurred can be seen in the clothing of the person. Watch out for unusual stains as well as odors in the clothing or skin. If the chemical is swallowed, it may leave a telltale odor on the breath. Finally, inspect the vicinity of the area to see if any chemical containers may be out of place.
Symptoms of Chemical Poisoning
The symptoms of chemical poisoning will depend largely on the seriousness of the condition. When affected by mild poisoning, for example, the patient is likely to experience the onset of headaches and some amount of soreness in the joints. Other symptoms include a loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea or even perspiration and restlessness. Moderate levels of poisoning are likely to show symptoms of muscle twitching, stomach cramps, severe diarrhea as well as noticeable loss of muscle co-ordination.
The patient is also likely to experience blurred vision, an irritation of the eyes or even excessive salivation. The most severe cases of chemical poisoning are likely to induce a considerable amount of thirst in the patient as well as a significantly high heart rate. While the muscle twitching may also be apparent, the pupils are also likely to reduce to the size of a pinpoint while a difficulty in breathing is likely to set in as well.
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Chemical Poisoning Treatment
The most effective treatment options available will depend significantly on the type of chemical involved as well as the point of contact. For example, if the poison has been inhaled, it is likely to cause a lot of damage to vital organs such as the lungs. The affected individual must be almost immediately allowed to take in fresh air while the clothing is loosened as well. If the victim has stopped breathing, the administration of artificial respiration would be required.
If the poison has been consumed orally, the victim’s mouth may need to be examined to help identify the kind of substance consumed while the stomach may need to be flushed in order to extract any undigested amounts of the substance that was consumed. Garlic is one household substance that is known to help detoxify and clean the blood stream effectively and should thus be used in most of the patient’s meals while he or she is making a recovery.
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