A poison is any substance that is harmful to your body. You might swallow it, inhale it, inject it, or absorb it through your skin. Any substance can be poisonous if too much is taken. Poisons can include
- Prescription or over-the-counter medicines taken in doses that are too high
- Overdoses of illegal drugs
- Carbon monoxide from gas appliances
- Household products, such as laundry powder or furniture polish
- Indoor or outdoor plants
- Metals such as lead and mercury
The effects of poisoning range from short-term illness to brain damage, coma, and death. To prevent poisoning it is important to use and store products exactly as their labels say. Keep dangerous products where children can't get to them. Treatment for poisoning depends on the type of poison. If you suspect someone has been poisoned, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 right away.
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Household Safety: Preventing Poisoning (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Poison-Proof Your Home One Room at a Time: Pesticide Poison Prevention Checklist (Environmental Protection Agency) - PDF - In English and Spanish Also in Spanish
- Read the Label First! Protect Your Household (Environmental Protection Agency) - PDF
- Read the Label First! Protect Your Pets (Environmental Protection Agency) - PDF
Treatments and Therapies
- Poisoning: What You Can Do (Health Resources and Services Administration)
- Alcohol Poisoning (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Chemical Emergency Preparedness (American Red Cross)
- Cyanide (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Facts about Benzene (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- In Case of Pesticide Emergency (Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs)
- Strychnine (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Poisoning (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Occupational exposure to pesticides and health symptoms among family farmers in...
- Article: Self-poisoning with pesticides in Jiangsu Province, China: a cross-sectional study on...
- Article: Childhood adversity and self-poisoning: A hospital case control study in Sri...
- Poisoning -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Also in Spanish
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Also in Spanish
- Poison Control Centers (American Association of Poison Control Centers)