What is intoxication

Acute intoxication is a severe pathological condition of the body caused by toxins, chemicals or infectious process. This article describes what the intoxication of the organism than it can be caused by what symptoms and clinical signs seen, what is her treatment.

Intoxication – what it is

The definition of "intoxication" is a very broad and modular concept. It is used when a large number of diseases and pathological conditions. Intoxication means poisoning of the body of any substances or microorganisms. Distinguish endogenous and exogenous intoxication, acute and chronic.

In acute poisoning, the body receives simultaneously a large number of toxins or poisons. This condition is characterized by rapid deterioration of health of the patient, the acute course of the disease. If the person is in contact with a hazardous substance over a long period, for example, in the workplace, he develops chronic poisoning.

Exogenous intoxication

When exogenous intoxication toxic substance or microorganism enters the body from the external environment. This poisoning can be both acute and chronic. The following are the main reasons for the development of exogenous intoxication.

  • The poisoning of food. It develops at the use of foul, corrupted or infected by an intestinal infection (salmonellosis, dysentery, E. coli) food. It is also possible poisoning with poisonous mushrooms, which is characterized by fulminant intoxication and Central nervous system.
  • Drug intoxication develops as a result of an overdose of drugs or combination of drugs with alcohol. It can develop when you try self-medication, suicide. Also drugs can poison a child accidentally drinking them.
  • Poisoning by alcohol or its surrogates (methyl alcohol, ethylene glycol). Even high-quality alcoholic drinks lead to the development of acute toxicity when taken in large quantities. Surrogates of alcohol often lead to death or disability.
  • Acute viral or bacterial infection. Flu, SARS, an acute bacterial destruction of internal organs leads to severe intoxication syndrome. The more dangerous the infection, the more pronounced toxicity.
  • Poisoning by chemicals, alkalis, acids, detergents. Such intoxication often occur by chance and occur mainly in children who mistakenly drink an unknown liquid. Acute poisoning by chemicals can occur in accidents in the workplace.
  • Gas poisoning arise when fires or gas leaks. Toxic substance (carbon monoxide, methane, propane) enter the body through the lungs during breathing. They lead to acute hypoxia, nervous and cardiovascular systems.

Endogenous intoxication

When endogenous intoxication toxic substances produced by the body. Endotoxins may be products of inflammatory and metabolic reactions, enzymes, hormones. Under certain circumstances, for example, in acute inflammation or increased physical activity, dehydration, acute renal failure, a substance produced by the body, are dangerous and toxic.

Endotoxins are also produced malignant tumors during the progression and growth of cancer tumors. In people suffering from cancer, the body temperature is consistently low-grade level, and the level of ROE (inflammatory indicator in the General analysis of blood) rolls.

The clinical features of acute intoxication

Signs and symptoms of intoxication depend on the reasons that caused the poisoning, and from the pathways of the toxin in the body. Below are the main features of clinical manifestations of intoxication depending on the etiology.

Food poisoning

The first symptoms on average develop over the first 6 hours after eating spoiled or contaminated food. If poisoning poisonous mushroom species, the clinical picture develops in 10-15 minutes and, in the case of intoxication by canned and infected with botulism – after 12-24 hours.

The main symptoms of food poisoning:

  • headache, dizziness and General weakness are the first signs of intoxication;
  • nausea and vomiting – the body's defense mechanisms. With vomiting, the stomach is trying to eliminate toxins and bacteria. In the vomit can see the remains of food, bile and mucus;
  • diarrhea. Its volume and frequency depend on the causes of poisoning and the degree of intoxication of the intestine. So, in dysentery the stool is watery, while salmonellosis – green and frothy;
  • the increase in body temperature when food poisoning develops does not always. The appearance of this symptom indicates severe disease and severe intoxication syndrome;
  • tachycardia – rapid pulse, signs of dehydration and severe intoxication;
  • in the case of botulism in a patient gradually increasesigns of Central nervous system: deteriorating coordination, vision, speech, act of swallowing, may have convulsions, paralysis and paresis.

Alcohol intoxication

Intoxication alcoholic drinks seen in a few hours after drinking alcohol. When poisoning with methyl alcohol, the symptoms may only develop through the day.

First, the disease is the type of food poisoning, the patient vomits, his stomach hurts, develops diarrhea. But then he can fall into a coma may develop seizures (as in epilepsy), hallucinations.

Alcohol poisoning is often complicated by liver, kidney, pancreas. In severe intoxication syndrome, impaired heart function, breathing.

Please note that for methyl alcohol poisoning is characterized by impaired vision. At first the patient notices a decrease of sharpness and clarity seen. In the absence of treatment there is complete blindness, and then death.

Poisoning acids, alkalis

A feature of this poisoning, is a deep burn of the mucous membrane of the stomach and esophagus, which is caused by substances consumed patients. Acids and bases are able to eat away the mucous membranes and cause disruption of integrity of vascular walls. Poisoning with acids and alkalis is often accompanied by gastrointestinal bleeding.

Clinical signs of intoxication alkalis and acids:

  • pain and burning sensation along the esophagus and in the stomach.
  • tachycardia;
  • shortness of breath;
  • hypotension (drop in blood pressure);
  • vomiting black or bloody contents – a sign of the beginning of bleeding;
  • disturbance of consciousness.

When ingested, acids and bases affects the kidneys, liver, pancreas, disturbed acid-alkaline balance.


Any drug with wrong technique can cause intoxication and overdose. The symptoms of poisoning by drugs depend on the active substance that caused the intoxication. In most cases in 20-30 minutes after consumption of toxic doses of the drug appear the first signs of poisoning. They may resemble food poisoning (manifested by vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain) or manifest signs of defeat of various organs and systems.

Please note that the instructions for taking each medicine described the symptoms that can develop in case of overdose.


Any infection viral or bacterial nature, once in the body, leads to intoxication syndrome. For example, sepsis, intoxication of blood, bacteria initiate a systemic inflammatory response, bacterial lesions observed in many organs and systems.

Intoxication syndrome infections that manifest headache, increased body temperature to febrile or subfebrile, General severe weakness, dizziness and chills. You may experience vomiting and diarrhea, aching joints, muscle pain.

Gas intoxication

The speed of onset of symptoms in cases of poisoning chadny stinking or gas depends on its concentration in the air. Higher it is, the faster is the development of intoxication and the defeat of the whole organism.

Inhalation chadny stinking gas, hemoglobin, the protein transporting oxygen to all the cells is converted to methemoglobin, a substance that is not capable of binding oxygen. This leads to acute hypoxia – oxygen deficiency, which primarily affect the brain, heart and kidneys.

The symptoms of poisoning with toxic gases are:

  • dry, suffocating cough, accompanied by sore throat;
  • increased lacrimation, pain in the eyes;
  • severe headache;
  • dizziness;
  • nausea, vomiting (can occur due to hypoxia, increased intracranial pressure);
  • respiratory failure in which respiratory rate exceeds 20-25 per minute, develops shortness of breath;
  • the feeling of lack of oxygen;
  • syncope – loss of consciousness;
  • deep coma;
  • seizures type of epilepsy;
  • hallucinations.

As the diagnosis is made and is determined by the type of intoxication

Toxicity is a very General term, and for the appointment of a doctor for a proper etiological treatment is necessary to identify its causes. Diagnosed by a doctor after a detailed medical history, inspection and examination of the patient. It is very important to inform the doctor the following facts:

  • the presence of contact with the infectious patients for the last several weeks (the incubation period of some infections can be prolonged);
  • the time of appearance of the first symptoms of the disease;
  • what could have triggered the illness (need to tell the doctor that you have been eating and drinking lately, what drugs were taken);
  • the presence of chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.);
  • recently, infectious disease.

Please note that if you are allergic to any drugs or food components, it is necessary to inform the doctor.

Resolution accurate diagnosis, identify the causative agent complications andevaluation of the patient's condition, you may require additional laboratory and instrumental examination of the patient. If the patient's condition is severe, diagnosis is carried out in parallel with the first aid.

The list of diagnostic techniques that may be required for diagnosis when intoxication:

  • General complete blood count helps to identify bacterial or viral infection, worm infestation, anemia. This study also can help to suspect cancer in the body, since it is characterized by the increase in RBE above 40 mm/h;
  • urinalysis is needed to identify acute or chronic renal failure, pyelonephritis, glomerulonephritis;
  • biochemical blood test is conducted to determine water and electrolyte abnormalities in blood, liver, kidneys, pancreas;
  • bacteriological stool cultures performed to diagnose intestinal infections;
  • ultrasound examination of internal organs need to detect the pathology of the liver, gallbladder, kidneys and pancreas;
  • electrocardiography is done to determine the health of the heart and to diagnose abnormalities of rhythm, myocardial ischemia;
  • spirometry is a method of diagnosis that helps to identify the pathology of respiration. Is carried out with gas poisoning and defeat of the respiratory system;
  • gastroscopy – examination of the mucous membrane of the stomach, esophagus and duodenum by a gastroscope. This study shows for poisoning by acids, alkalis and the development of gastrointestinal toxicity;
  • a blood test for toxins, determine the level of alcohol.

Intoxication – a collective term that reflects the failure or infection of the body with toxins or microorganisms. Hazardous substances can be produced by the body or enter from the outside. The treatment is prescribed by a doctor after diagnosis. This is a detailed examination of the patient, which helps to detect the cause of intoxication syndrome.