The poisonous response created in the human body by a chemical or toxin can be fatal. With some conditions, such as the poisonous bite of a snake, the time for diagnosis and treatment can be incredibly short, sometimes within a mere twenty-four hours. This is made all the more difficult if the toxicologist is yet to know what has caused the poisonous response. Such circumstances may include if you have been bitten and are unsure what by. For some poisons there are antidotes available, but for many there is no way to prevent the poison from having a sometimes fatal affect on the body.


If any of the symptoms discussed in the ‘poison & prevention’ topic are shown, such as seizure or nausea, then the diagnosis process can move along. However, there are a range of poisons that can cause such affects, and diagnosis can be made more difficult because of this. If an empty bottle of pills is found by the victim then the doctor can presume that an overdose is involved, but it is often best if there is a witness to back up this story.

A snake bite would likely cause swelling, which is easily identifiable, but, as with most toxins, it would take time to ascertain which type is the actual culprit. Other toxic substances may cause rawness or burning of the skin. Any vomit that is released by the victim may be examined in order to identify the poison, as may blood and urine. If you are living in an area in which one type of poison is more common then this may make the identification process easier, but for the most part diagnosis is a difficult task.


The type of treatment available will always depend on the type of chemical or toxin and the poisonous response it is having on the body. For some poisons, if an antidote is not given within a day or so, the result can be death. An antidote would likely be used for a snake-bite or insect sting, while a stomach pump would typically be used for cases in which an overdose of drugs or alcohol has occurred. A chemical burn may require antibiotics, the use of sterilised creams and a bandage, a breathing tube if there are respiratory difficulties and intravenous fluid. Treatment will vary according to what has caused the poisonous response, as well as factors such as level of dosage.