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Causes of poison: Poison – Poisoning Symptoms and Treatment


Poisoning – NHS

Poisoning is when a person is exposed to a substance that can damage their health or endanger their life.

In 2013-14, almost 150,000 people were admitted to hospital with poisoning in England.

Most cases of poisoning happen at home, and children under 5 have the highest risk of accidental poisoning.

In around 1 in 4 reported cases, the person intentionally poisoned themselves as a deliberate act of self-harm.

Signs and symptoms of poisoning

The symptoms of poisoning will depend on the type of poison and the amount taken in, but general things to look out for include:

  • vomiting
  • stomach pains
  • confusion
  • drowsiness and fainting fits

If a child suddenly develops these symptoms, they may have been poisoned, particularly if they’re drowsy and confused.

What to do

If you suspect that someone has taken an overdose or has been poisoned, don’t try to treat them yourself. Get medical help immediately.

If they don’t appear to be seriously ill, call NHS 111 for advice.

If they’re showing signs of being seriously ill, such as vomiting, loss of consciousness, drowsiness or seizures (fits), call 999 to request an ambulance or take the person to your local A&E department.

In serious cases, it may be necessary for the person to stay in hospital for treatment. Most people admitted to hospital because of poisoning will survive.

Read more about what to do if you think someone has been poisoned.

Types of poisons

Poisons can be swallowed, absorbed through the skin, injected, inhaled or splashed into the eyes.

A medication overdose is the most common form of poisoning in the UK. This can include both over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol, and prescription medications, such as antidepressants.

Other potential poisons include:

  • household products, such as bleach
  • cosmetic items, such as nail polish
  • some types of plants and fungi
  • certain types of household chemicals and pesticides
  • carbon monoxide
  • poorly prepared or cooked food, and food that’s gone mouldy or been contaminated with bacteria from raw meat (food poisoning)
  • alcohol, if an excessive amount is consumed over a short period of time (alcohol poisoning)
  • recreational drugs or substances
  • medicines prescribed for pets

Snakes and insects, such as wasps and bees, aren’t poisonous, but their bites or stings can contain venom (toxin).

Read more about the causes of poisoning.

Preventing poisoning

There are several things you can do to reduce your or your child’s risk of poisoning.

These include carefully reading the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication and ensuring that any poisonous substances are locked away out of the sight and reach of your children.

Read more about preventing poisoning.

Page last reviewed: 31 May 2018
Next review due: 31 May 2021

Poison Oak, Treatment, Symptoms, Relief, Prevention

What is poison ivy?

Poison ivy is a common poisonous plant that causes an itchy skin rash. Other rash-inducing poisonous plants include poison oak and poison sumac. These plants produce an oily sap called urushiol that brings on an irritating, itchy allergic reaction. When you touch a poisonous plant or an object that’s been in contact with a plant, you develop an itchy rash. This rash is a form of allergic contact dermatitis.

How common is a poison ivy rash?

Up to 90% of people who come into contact with poison ivy oil develop an itchy rash. You don’t have to be exposed to much: 50 micrograms of urushiol — an amount smaller than a grain of salt — is enough to cause a reaction.

Who might get a poison ivy rash?

Nearly everyone who touches urushiol gets a poison ivy rash. You’re more likely to come into contact with a poisonous plant if you have one of these jobs or hobbies:

  • Camper or hiker.
  • Farmer or gardener.
  • Groundskeeper or landscaper.
  • Forestry worker.
  • Forest firefighter.
  • House painter.
  • Roofer.

What do poisonous plants look like?

Poisonous plants grow all over the continental United States. Each type has a distinctive appearance:

  • Poison ivy: Poison ivy is most known for its leaves. Each leaf has three leaflets. A popular saying is, “Leaves of three, let them be.” Poison ivy grows as a shrub and a vine. Its summer-green leaves turn reddish in the spring and yellow, orange or red in the fall. A poison ivy shrub may have white berries.
  • Poison oak: The leaves have three leaflets like poison ivy, but with rounded tips. The leaves’ undersides are fuzzy and lighter in color than the top. Poison oak grows as a shrub. It’s most common in the western United States. The shrub sometimes has white or yellow berries.
  • Poison sumac: This tall shrub or small tree has drooping clusters of green berries. (Nonpoisonous sumacs have red, upright berries. Contact with nonpoisonous sumacs won’t cause an allergic rash.) Each leaf has clusters of seven to 13 smooth leaflets arranged in pairs. Poison sumac thrives in wet, swampy regions.

What causes a poison ivy rash?

Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac produce an oil called urushiol. Almost everyone is allergic to this oil. When your skin touches the oil, an allergic reaction occurs. The itchy rash that develops is a type of allergic contact dermatitis.

What are the symptoms of a poison ivy rash?

Urushiol oil causes the same allergic reaction — an itchy skin rash — no matter what poisonous plant you touch. Depending on your skin’s sensitivity, a rash may develop within a few hours or days after initial contact. Symptoms include:

  • Blisters.
  • Itchy skin rash.
  • Redness and swelling.

How is a poison ivy rash diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will look at the rash, assess your symptoms and ask questions to determine if you could have encountered a poisonous plant. Other allergens and irritants besides poisonous plants can cause contact dermatitis or an itchy rash. If you haven’t been outdoors or in contact with plants, your healthcare provider will want to rule out other skin conditions or causes.

How is a poison ivy rash managed or treated?

Rashes from poisonous plants usually go away within a week or two. In the meantime, these over-the-counter medications can relieve the itchy rash:

  • Anti-itch creams, including calamine lotion (Caladryl®) and hydrocortisone creams (Cortizone®).
  • Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl®).
  • Colloidal oatmeal baths (Aveeno®) and cold compresses to soothe itching.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe an oral steroid, such as prednisone, if the rash becomes more severe or the rash forms on the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, mouth or genitals.

What are the complications of poison ivy exposure?

Some situations increase your risk of problems if you’re exposed to poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. These factors include:

  • Inhaling smoke: When poisonous plants burn, they release urushiol into the air. You may develop a rash inside of your nasal passages, mouth and throat from inhaling the smoke. Oil in the air also affects the lungs and can cause serious breathing problems.
  • Scratching: It’s hard not to scratch this itchy rash. But you can get an infection if you scratch until skin bleeds. Bacteria from under your fingernails can get inside any open wound.

Can a poison ivy rash spread to other parts of the body?

No. It might look like a rash is spreading, but you’re actually developing new rashes on areas of skin that came into contact with urushiol oil. You might have touched a plant in some areas and not even realized it — for example, if a backpack strap brushed against plants and then touched your bare shoulder. Some rashes take longer to develop. The extent of the rash depends on your skin sensitivity and how much oil you touched.

Is a poison ivy rash contagious?

You can’t get a poison ivy rash by touching another person’s rash. But you could develop a rash if you touch the oil on another person’s body or clothes. You can also come in contact with the oil by touching your pet’s fur or a contaminated item like a gardening tool or camping gear.

How can I prevent a poison ivy rash?

The best way to avoid developing this itchy rash is by learning what poisonous plants look like so you can avoid them.

If you think you’ve come in contact with a poisonous plant, you can:

  • Apply isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to exposed body parts, gardening tools or other contaminated items to strip away the oil.
  • Scrub under your fingernails with a brush.
  • Use dishwashing soap and cool water to wash hands that have touched a poisonous plant.
  • Wash clothes after being outdoors.
  • Wear long sleeves, pants and gloves when doing yard work, gardening, farming or hiking.
  • Wear rubber gloves while bathing pets that have been in contact with poisonous plants.

What is the prognosis (outlook) for people with a poison ivy rash?

Most poison plant rashes cause mild (but annoying) symptoms that go away within a week or two. Rarely, a skin rash lasts for longer than a month. Try not to scratch. Scratching can break open skin and cause an infection.

When should I call the doctor?

Reach out to your healthcare provider if you have a poison plant rash and you experience:

  • Rash covering more than a quarter of your body.
  • Rash on the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, mouth or genitals.
  • Red streaks, fever or other signs of infection.
  • Signs of anaphylaxis, including breathing difficulties, hives and swelling.

What questions should I ask my doctor?

If you have a poison plant rash, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:

  • Do I need any testing to confirm the rash is from a poisonous plant?
  • How can I avoid getting this rash again?
  • How can I keep my family members from getting this rash?
  • What treatments can I use to reduce itching?
  • How long will the rash last?
  • Should I look out for signs of complications?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

It’s hard not to scratch an itchy poison ivy rash. Fortunately, most rashes clear up with minimal treatment within a week. Ask your healthcare provider for suggestions to stop the itch. And remember, don’t scratch! You might temporarily feel better, but scratching can introduce bacteria into the skin and cause an infection.

Poison Statistics National Data 2019

Cosmetics and personal care products lead the list of the most common substances implicated in pediatric exposures (children younger than 6 years, NPDS, 2019). Cleaning substances and pain medications follow. These exposures are nearly always unintentional.

Pain medications lead the list of the most common substances implicated in adult poison exposures
(20 years old or older, NPDS, 2019). Sedatives and sleeping medications, antidepressants, and cardiovascular medications follow. These exposures are often intentional.

How serious are poison exposures?

In 2019, 83% of poison exposures reported to U.S. poison centers were nontoxic, minimally toxic, or had at most a minor effect.(Includes the National Poison Data System codes: no effect; minor effect; not followed, nontoxic; and not followed, minimally toxic.)


Intentional exposures were significantly more serious, with a 32-fold greater percentage of serious outcomes (major or fatal effects) compared to unintentional exposures. Of the intentional exposures, 8.34% were major effects or deaths compared to 0.26% of unintentional exposures and 1.98% of all exposures. Just 3.05% of unintentional exposures had a moderate, major or fatal outcome compared to 36.15% of intentional exposures and 10.04% of all exposures. 


Exposures in teens and adults were also considerably more serious, with 19.7% of teens and 18.4% of adults having a moderate, major or fatal effect compared to 1.2% of children younger than 6 years. Most exposures in children younger than 6 years (95.7%) were nontoxic, minimally toxic, or had at most a minor effect.



Many poison exposures can be safely observed at home without an ER visit. Overall, 66.3% of poison exposures were observed without medical intervention in 2019. For poison exposures occurring in children younger than 6 years, 86.3% were only observed at home (without going to an ER or seeing a physician). In contrast, only 47.9% of adult cases were managed at the exposure site without medical intervention.


These nontoxic or minimally toxic poison exposures that can be safely observed at home are the cases that will most likely be amenable to triage by webPOISONCONTROL®.

Real-time poison exposure data enables surveillance

U.S. poison centers collect data in real time and upload those data every 9.5 minutes (median time to upload). Real-time data are used to find hazardous products quickly, follow substance abuse trends, and detect chem/bioterrorism incidents. Under a grant from the CDC, the American Association of Poison Control Centers and its member poison centers conduct automated, continuous surveillance of poison exposure cases. Alerts are sent when there are an unexpectedly large number of cases in an hour, when there’s an unexpectedly high frequency of a specific symptom, or when there are cases with combinations of clinical effects suggestive of specific poisonings that might require a rapid public health response. Toxicologists promptly investigate these alerts and inform public health officials if outliers are suspicious for events or products of concern.

For more detailed U.S. poison control data, check out the Annual Reports of the American Association of Poison Control Centers:

Other U.S. Poisoning Data Sources

According to the CDC, unintentional poisoning is the leading cause of injury death for all age groups.2 It has surpassed motor vehicle traffic fatalities as the leading cause of injury death in the U.S. since 2008.3 Based on provisional counts, 64,070 cases of death due to drug overdose were recorded in the U.S. in 2016.4 The majority of those cases, approximately 66%, involved an opioid.5 This figure, which includes both prescription opioid and heroin use, is five times higher than the number of opioid overdose deaths reported in 1999.5 The continuous rise in prescribing, use, and abuse of opioid drugs and the subsequent increase in opioid related deaths has come to be known as the opioid epidemic.

Total US Drug Deaths: Provisional counts for 2016 are based on data available for analysis as of 8/2017.

Counts through 2015 are based on final annual data.

The opioid epidemic was initially fueled by the use of prescription opioids like methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.  Prescribing patterns for opioid medications followed an upward trend from 2006 to 2012.6 Increased awareness, education, and discussion surrounding opioid use has helped to reign in the prescribing habits of many providers and from 2012-2016, opioid prescription rates declined by 4.9% annually.6  

In 2008 it was also reported that the number of deaths involving prescription opioids surpassed the combined number of deaths from both heroin and cocaine use.6 In subsequent years, the number of deaths due to drug overdose, including the number of cases involving opioids, continued to rise. However, by 2015, use of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl were gaining in popularity. The sharpest rise in drug related fatalities was seen in 2016 and was associated with use of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs with over 20,000 deaths occurring that year.4

Drugs involved in US overdose deaths,, 2000 to 2016.

The substantial increase in fentanyl deaths has been linked to illicitly manufactured fentanyl that is used to adulterate other drugs of abuse or sold to unsuspecting users under the guise of another drug name.7 The potency of these synthetic opioids can range from approximately 3-10,000 times the strength of morphine by weight and the adulteration of heroin being sold in the U.S. with synthetic opioids has led to alarming medical consequences like naloxone resistance.8

AAPCC Data Disclosure Statement

Related Links

Summary of Poison Statistics for the Washington, DC region

Summary of National Poison Statistics, Reports to US Poison Centers, 2018

Summary of National Poison Statistics, Reports to US Poison Centers, 2017

Summary of National Poison Statistics, Reports to US Poison Centers, 2016

Summary of National Poison Statistics, Reports to US Poison Centers, 2015

Summary of National Poison Statistics, Reports to US Poison Centers, 2014

The Rise of Medicine in the Home: Implications for Today’s Children, SafeKids Worldwide, March 2016

Medicine Safety for Children: An In-Depth Look at Calls to Poison Centers, SafeKids Worldwide, March 2015

Keeping Families Safe Around Medicine, SafeKids Worldwide, March 2014


Allergens: Poison Ivy / Poison Oak / Poison Sumac

What are poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac?

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are native American plants. These plants cause an allergic reaction in most people who are exposed to them. To be allergic to poison ivy, you must come in contact with the plant once for sensitization to the oils to happen. This means that next time contact with the plant happens, a reaction may happen 24 to 72 hours after exposure. An allergic reaction can’t be spread from one person to another by touching the blisters or from the fluid inside the blisters. But, it can be spread if the plant oils remain on the skin, clothes, or shoes.

What causes the allergic reaction to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac?

The resin in the plants contains an oily substance called urushiol. Urushiol is easily passed from the plants to other objects. These include tools and animals. This chemical can remain active for a year or longer. It is important to know that the oils can be passed from clothing, pets, or smoke from a burning plant.

What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac?

The allergic reaction to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac is usually contact dermatitis. This may happen 24 to 72 hours after exposure. The dermatitis is characterized by bumps and blisters that itch. Sometimes, swelling happens in the area of contact. Eventually, the blisters break, ooze, and then crust over.

How is an allergic reaction to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac diagnosed?

Diagnosis is usually based on a medical history and physical exam.

How is an allergic reaction to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac treated?

There is no cure for the reaction once the rash starts. Avoiding the plants is the best treatment. It is very important to learn what the plants look like and to not touch them.

If you have already come in contact with the plants, remove the oils from your skin as soon as possible. Do this by washing with ordinary soap. Repeat the cleaning with the soap 3 times. There are also alcohol-based wipes that help remove the oils. Also wash all clothes and shoes because the oils can remain on them.

For the itching, your healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter creams, such as calamine lotion. He or she may also recommend bathing in a baking soda or colloidal oatmeal bath. These can be bought at your local drugstore. Sometimes your healthcare provider will prescribe a topical cortisone containing cream or medicine to take by mouth for the itching. Oral steroids are commonly used along with oral antihistamines. 

Tell your healthcare provider if you have a temperature over 100°F (38°C) and the blisters and rash are on your face, in your eyes, near your genitals, or all over your body. After a medical history and physical, your healthcare provider may prescribe a steroid cream, pills, or injection to help with the swelling and itching.

Can an allergic reaction to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac be prevented?

  • Teach all family members what the plants look like.
  • Wear long pants and long sleeves when outside in woods or yard.
  • Wash clothes and shoes immediately after being outside.
  • Do not touch a pet that might have been in a poisonous plant.
  • Wash hands thoroughly.

What are the complications of an allergy to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac?

In some cases, a severe reaction that causes swelling or trouble with breathing or swallowing may happen. If this happens, get treatment right away. This is an emergency.

Living with an allergy to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac

Be sure to follow recommendations for preventing an allergic reaction to these plants by avoiding exposure.

When should I call my healthcare provider?

While most allergic reactions to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac are easily managed at home, you should call your healthcare provider right away if:

  • The rash covers all or most of your body
  • You are unable to stop the itching or if it feels like all of your skin is itching
  • You have multiple rashes and/or blisters
  • You get a rash on your face or genital area
  • The itching and discomfort keep you from sleeping
  • You have a fever over 100°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
  • The rash does not improve after a few days

Call 911 or go to the emergency room if:

  • You have difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  • You have swelling, especially around your eyes

Key points about poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac

  • These plants cause an allergic reaction in nearly 85% of the population.
  • An oily substance in the plants called urushiol causes the allergic reaction.
  • The allergic reaction causes a rash followed by bumps and blisters that itch. Eventually, the blisters break, ooze, and then crust over.
  • The best treatment is avoiding contact with poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac.
  • There is no cure for the allergic reaction, but treatments can minimize the discomfort.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.

Poison Ivy – NYC Health

Poison ivy is a plant found in many parts of New York City as well as throughout the United States. It is often found in wooded areas; wetlands; open lots; parks; and yards. This plant may cause a range of symptoms when people touch or eat the leaves, stems or berries, or breathe in smoke when it is burned. All parts of the plant cause an irritating rash on the skin.

What does poison ivy look like?

Poison ivy leaves always grow in clusters of three. The leaves may look shiny or dull with edges varying from smooth to deeply notched. Leaves are reddish in spring, green in summer and orange or bronze in the fall. Poison ivy can grow anywhere but tends to grow at the edge of pathways, roads, parking lots and fields where vegetation has been disturbed.

See pictures of poison ivy.

Why should I avoid poison ivy?

Many people have an allergic reaction when the oil from poison ivy plants touches their skin. You may come into contact with poison ivy oil by:

  • Touching the plant– even dead plants may contain oil!
  • Touching gardening tools, pet’s fur, sports equipment, clothing, and anything else that has contacted the plant
  • Burning the plant– the oil that is released into the air may land on skin or cause breathing problems.

How can poison ivy affect my health?

Health effects from poison ivy usually occur 24 to 48 hours after contact with the plant but may appear as early as 30 minutes or up to two weeks later. Signs and symptoms include

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Red rash that:
    • Consists of small to large bumps, pimples or blisters
    • May ooze
    • CLasts one to three weeks
  • Respiratory problems after breathing in smoke from burning poison ivy plants

Is poison ivy rash contagious?

You cannot give a poison ivy rash to another person. However, if you have the oil on your skin and you touch a different part of your body or another person’s skin, a reaction may occur.

May I grow poison ivy in my yard?

No. It is illegal to let poison ivy grow on a property in NYC.

How can I protect myself while removing poison ivy from my property?

When removing poison ivy:

  • Know what poison ivy looks like and do not touch it with bare hands.
  • Wear vinyl gloves, long pants, long sleeves, shoes, a hat, eye protection and a dust mask.
  • Use hand tools to cut and remove the vines and pull up the plant from the roots.
  • Do not use power tools, such as weed-whackers, lawn mowers, or hedge trimmers
  • Place all cuttings in a heavy duty plastic garbage bag. Seal the bag and throw it away with the regular trash.

Never Burn Poison Ivy Plants!

After completing the work:

  • Wash hands, tools, gloves and shoes with soap and water.
  • Wash clothes with detergent and water.

How should poison ivy be treated?

If poison ivy touches your skin, do the following as soon as possible:

  • Wash the skin with soap and cool water. Do not use hot water because it can make the reaction worse
  • Speak to your doctor if you develop severe symptoms to poison ivy

How can I get more information about poison ivy?

Call 311 for more information on removing poison ivy or to file a complaint about poison ivy on a property.

For more information on how to treat poison ivy call the NYC Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or 212-POISONS . Poison specialists are available 24 hours a day, with translation services in more than 150 languages.

More Resources

What Is Poison Ivy? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Favorite Homegrown Advice on Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy

Heading out for a hike or some yard work? Check this site first to make sure you can identify poison ivy and poison oak. If you think you might have touched poison ivy or already have a rash, check out The Rash. Visit the Hall of Fame, containing photos of some of the worst poison ivy rashes ever, at your own peril.

‘How to Never Have a Serious Poison Ivy Rash Again’

People who spend a lot of time outside, such as hunters, landscapers, and outdoor recreationists, tend to know a lot about poison ivy, often from personal experience. Here, vlogger Extreme Deer Habitat explains how to prevent a serious rash even if you’ve come in contact with it. Hint: Time is of the essence.

What the Medical Professionals Say About Poison Ivy

American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)

Come for the straight talk on poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac; stay for the additional warnings on — and locator map for — giant hogweed, poison hemlock, cow parsnip, wild parsnip, poodle-dog bush, and nettle.

Family Doctor

Family doctors are often the ones who diagnose and treat poison ivy, so it’s not surprising that this website has some basic instructions for recognizing it, treating a rash if you develop one, and talking to your doctor about allergic reactions.

Mayo Clinic

As usual, the Mayo Clinic offers just the facts, with a helpful list of home remedies for cooling down a rash and easing the itching.


MedlinePlus links to a variety of English- and Spanish-language resources on poison ivy, as well as resources aimed at children and teens.

Good to Know if You Work Outside

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

If you work outdoors, you’ll want to check out these recommendations for avoiding exposure to poison ivy and applying correct first-aid techniques if you come in contact with it.

Climate Central

Have you ever wondered what effect climate change will have on poison ivy? Climate Central, an independent organization of scientists and journalists has, and what they predict is not pretty.

Best Tips for Gardeners

The Spruce

There’s nothing like beautifying your yard with flowers and shrubs, but what about when plants you don’t want show up? These step-by-step instructions describe how to remove and dispose of poison ivy safely, without getting a rash or endangering others.

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE)

If you’re still not sure what Eastern poison ivy — which can be found as far west as Arizona — looks like, this site can help you out with photos of different parts of the poison ivy plant at different times of year, as well as links to other resources on identifying the plant and treating the rash.

Beyond Poison Ivy: Related Allergies

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI)

How could an allergy to mangos or cashews possibly be related to poison ivy? This expert response explains the concept of cross-reactivity and how certain allergens can occur in diverse plants.

Best Leisure Reading on Poison Ivy

Science History Institute

Did you know that 18th-century Americans sent poison ivy seedlings to Europe for cultivation in royal gardens? Or that doctors of the era thought poison ivy had healing powers? If you’re laid up with a poison ivy rash or just need something interesting to read, this article will keep you entertained.

What Makes Chemicals Poisonous : OSH Answers

Most chemicals can cause both acute and chronic toxicity depending on the conditions of exposure. The adverse acute and chronic health effects caused by the chemical can be quite different. It is not usually possible to predict what the chronic toxicity of a chemical might be by looking at its acute toxicity, or vice versa.

Acute toxicity

In most cases, much more is known about the acute toxicity of a chemical than its chronic toxicity. The understanding of acute toxicity comes from studies with animals exposed to relatively high doses of the chemical, from tests that use animal, human or other cells, or from comparison of the effects of very similar chemicals. Accidental exposure, spills and emergencies add to our knowledge of acute toxicity in humans. The health effects may be temporary, such as skin irritation, dizziness or nausea, or they may be permanent: blindness, scars from acid burns, mental impairment and so on.

Acute toxicity is often seen within minutes or hours after a sudden, high exposure to a chemical. However, there are a few instances where a one-time high-level exposure causes delayed effects. For example, symptoms of exposures to certain pesticides may not appear for several days.

Chronic toxicity

Much of the knowledge we have about chronic toxicity comes from animal experiments. In addition, much has been learned from studying groups of people occupationally exposed to a chemical for many years. As a general rule, chronic toxicity appears many years after exposure first began. The health effects occur only because the exposure has taken place repeatedly over many years. Chronic toxicity is thought to occur in one of two main ways. These two ways can be explained by using sodium fluoride and n-hexane as examples.

  • Sodium fluoride, at very low concentrations (such as in toothpaste or drinking water), causes no noticeable harmful health effects, even after years of exposure. At these low levels, the effects are considered beneficial for teeth. However, if much higher concentrations of sodium fluoride enter the body repeatedly, they deposit and build up in the bones. At first, the amount of fluoride in the bone may not cause any problems, but after years of repeated high exposure, symptoms of bone disease may appear.
  • On the other hand, the chemical n-hexane is not deposited or accumulated in the body. It is broken down in the liver. One of the breakdown products can attack nerve cells in the fingers and toes. These kinds of cell are not replaced by the body easily. With continued exposure for many years, the damage to the nerve cells increases until a point is reached where symptoms appear in the fingers and toes.

Repeated exposure to some chemicals for long periods of time may cause cancer. Often people express concern about cancer developing after a one-time exposure to a cancer-causing agent. While there is no absolute proof that cancer will not occur from a one-time exposure, most of the evidence indicates that repeated exposure over a long period of time is necessary before cancer develops.

Snake venom infestation

Global situation

In many tropical and subtropical countries, snakebites are a neglected public health problem. About 5.4 million people are bitten by snakes each year, causing 1.8–2.7 million venom deaths, 81,410 to 137,880 deaths, and roughly three times as many amputations and other lifelong disabilities from venom from snakebites 1 .

Most of these cases occur in Africa, Asia and Latin America 2 .In Asia, up to 2 million snakebite cases occur each year, and in Africa, the estimated annual number of snakebites requiring treatment ranges from 435,000 to 580,000. This type of injury is common among women, children and farmers in poor rural areas. communities in low- and middle-income countries. Basically, these are the countries with the weakest health systems and scarce health resources.

Poisonous snake bites can cause paralysis, which can lead to respiratory arrest; cause a bleeding disorder, which in turn can lead to fatal bleeding; cause irreversible renal failure; and severe tissue damage, and lifelong disability and limb amputation.Compared to adults, children suffer from more severe effects of bites, which may occur more quickly due to their lower body weight.

Unlike many other serious health problems, snakebite cases have highly effective treatments. Many deaths and serious consequences of snakebites are completely preventable by expanding the availability and supply of safe and effective antitoxins. High quality snake venom antitoxins are the only effective treatment for preventing and reversing most of the effects of snakebite venom.They are included in the WHO Essential Medicines List and should be part of the primary health care package for snakebite situations.

Problems in the production of antitoxins

A significant challenge in the production of antitoxins is the preparation of proper immunogens (snake venom). Currently, only a few countries have the capacity to produce adequate quality snake venom for the manufacture of antitoxins, and many manufacturers rely on conventional commercial sources of supply for such products.They do not always adequately account for geographic differences between the venoms of some common snake species.

A number of factors have led to the current crisis. Inaccurate data on the number and type of snakebites have made it difficult to assess needs, and inappropriate distribution policies, in turn, have encouraged manufacturers to cut or stop production or raise the price of antitoxins. In addition, inadequate regulation and marketing of inappropriate or low-quality antitoxins led to a loss of confidence among physicians, health officials and patients in some of the available antitoxins, further reducing demand.

Weak health systems and lack of data

In many countries with high prevalence of snakebite, health systems often lack the infrastructure and resources needed to collect reliable statistics on the problem. The situation is exacerbated by socio-economic and cultural factors that influence health care seeking and lead many victims to prefer traditional practices over hospital care.

For example, in Nepal, where 90% of the population lives in rural areas, the Ministry of Health reported 480 snakebite cases, 22 of which were fatal, in 2000, while data for the same year from a community-based study in one region (Eastern Nepal) reported 4078 bites and 396 deaths 1 .

Likewise, according to direct estimates from a large-scale study of mortality from snakebites in communities in India, the number of deaths in 2005 waswas 45,900 (99% confidence interval: 40,900-50,900 cases), which is more than 30 times the official indicator of the Government of India 2 . When comparing death records in a district in Sri Lanka with data from the Central Civil Registry Office, it was found that 62.5% of deaths due to snake venom are not reported in hospital data 3 .

In cases where data on snake venom lesions are insufficient, it is difficult to correctly determine the need for antitoxins.This leads to an underestimation of these needs by national health authorities, which, in turn, leads to a decrease in the demand for the manufacture of antitoxins by manufacturers and some of them leaving the market. Weak regulatory systems in countries that lack the knowledge and experience in the assessment of antitoxins can lead to the procurement of ineffective or inappropriate drugs. Ineffective distribution strategies can impede access to antitoxins and lead to stockouts.

Low level of antitoxin production

Over the past 20 years, due to low demand, several manufacturers have ceased production and the prices of some antitoxins have skyrocketed, making the treatment unaffordable for most people who need it. Rising prices further reduce demand, to the point that supplies of antitoxins to some areas have significantly decreased or stopped altogether.

Many believe that the lack of immediate, effective and decisive measures will create a real threat of undersupply of antitoxins to Africa and some Asian countries.

WHO action

WHO is taking action to raise awareness among health authorities and policy-makers about this problem. In December 2015, WHO launched a program to assess the potential safety and efficacy of anti-toxin drugs currently intended for use in sub-Saharan Africa. The results of this detailed technical and laboratory assessment will provide purchasing organizations with informed recommendations for the antitoxins that best meet their needs.At the request of several UN Member States, WHO listed snake venom as a high priority neglected tropical disease in June 2017.

The Snakebite Working Group, established in the same year, aims to provide information for the development of a WHO strategic roadmap on snakebite. This strategy aims to reduce mortality and disability rates from snakebites by 50% by 2030. This goal will be achieved through the implementation of four main objectives:

  • Community Empowerment and Participation,
  • Providing safe and effective treatments,
  • health systems strengthening, and
  • Strengthening partnerships, coordination and resource base.

A summary of the activities of WHO was published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases in February 2019 4 . The full text of the strategy will be released in May 2019, after which the roadmap will be posted on the WHO website.

WHO will work closely with a number of partners to ensure the successful implementation of this roadmap, which focuses on action in countries and regions affected by snakebite, with the support of WHO technical units.

WHO encourages regulatory authorities, manufacturers, researchers, physicians, national and regional health authorities, and international and local organizations to work together to improve the availability of reliable epidemiological data on snakebite, and to improve the regulatory control of antitoxins and their distribution policies.

Two tools have been prepared to assist in the development of appropriate antitoxins:

These tools will help:

90 051

  • public health officials in determining which antitoxins are needed in their country and developing appropriate national public health policies;
  • to national drug regulators in prioritizing antitoxins to register and evaluate the safety, quality and efficacy of antitoxins to meet national public health needs;
  • 90,052 procurement agencies to select the appropriate antitoxins to meet national treatment needs;

    90,052 antitoxin manufacturers in developing plans for the production and sale of appropriate antitoxins;

    90,052 to doctors and healthcare professionals in the treatment of snake bites; and

  • for the acquisition of knowledge about the poisonous snakes living in their areas and the identification of these snakes.

  • 1 Sharma SK. Snake bites and dog bites in Nepal: community based studies on snake bites and dog bites, Department of Medicine, B P Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, presentation made at the WHO first Consultative Meeting on Rabies and Envenomings, Geneva, 10 January 2007.

    2 Mohapatra B, Warrell DA, Suraweera W, Bhatia P, Dhingra N, Jotkar RM, Rodriguez PS, Mishra K, Whitaker R, Jha P. Snakebite Mortality in India: A Nationally Representative Mortality Survey.PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 12 April 2011.

    3 Fox S, Rathuwithana AC, Kasturiratne A, Lalloo DG, de Silva HJ. Underestimation of snakebite mortality by hospital statistics in the Monaragala District of Sri Lanka. Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Volume 100, Issue 7, 1 July 2006, pages 693-695.
    4 Williams DJ, Faiz MA, Abela-Ridder B, Ainsworth S, Bulfone TC, Nickerson AD, et al. (2019) Strategy for a globally coordinated response to a priority neglected tropical disease: Snakebite envenoming.PLoS Negl Trop Dis 13 (2): e0007059.

    Poisoning of a dog with rat poison symptoms and treatment

    Poisoning of dogs with anticoagulant rodenticides

    Poisoning of dogs with toxic anticoagulant drugs is not the most common problem,
    but, despite this, its urgency is quite high.

    Rodenticides are chemical preparations belonging to the group of pesticides and aimed at the destruction of warm-blooded pests: rats, mice and other rodent species – usually they are called rat poison or rat poison .
    Contact of pets with these toxic drugs most often occurs in places of sanitization against rodents: livestock farms, food enterprises, retail outlets, warehouses, medical and childcare facilities, garden and summer cottages, basements and stairwells of residential buildings, not the last role plays the activity of “doghunters”.

    Rodenticides (so-called rat poisons), depending on the duration, are divided by:

    • Acute drugs – cause the death of an animal in a short period of time, from several minutes to several days.This group includes thiourea derivatives (rats) and inorganic rodenticides (zinc phosphide). Treatment for poisoning with drugs of this group is not effective, there is no antidote.
    • Long-acting drugs – have a cumulative effect and cause poisoning of the animal, only after reaching a certain concentration in the body. The onset of the effect is up to several weeks. Representatives of this group are organic rodenticides – blood anticoagulants of the 1st generation (warfarin, difenacin, cumatetralil, ethylfenacin, triphenacin, chlorfasinone) and the 2nd generation (diphenacum, brodifacum, diphetialon, flocumafen, bromadiolone, isoindan).

    Further in our article we will consider only long-acting rodenticides.

    The mechanism of the toxic action of these substances is that they enter the animal’s body with poisoned baits, where they inhibit K1 reductase, which prevents the formation of vitamin K1 (phytaminadion), which serves as a cofactor for the synthesis of prothrombin, factors VII, IX, X. When the blood coagulation factor decreases to the level of 20% of normal, anticoagulant effects occur.
    The main routes of penetration of toxic substances into the animal’s body are oral (when eating a bait) and skin resorptive (absorption through intact skin).

    Symptoms of dog poisoning with rat poisons

    The clinical picture of a dog or other animal in case of anticoagulant poisoning is very diverse and often not typical. The condition of patients is usually good or satisfactory, with the exception of patients with hemothorax and critical anemia.
    When examining a patient, we can observe the following signs:

    • Epistaxis (nosebleed)
    • Bleeding gums
    • Gastrointestinal bleeding
    • Gemametra (uterine bleeding)
    • Hematuria (blood in urine)
    • Hemaperitoneum (intra-abdominal bleeding)
    • Hematorax (intrapleural bleeding)
    • Bleeding from a wound
    • Hematoma
    • Hemarthrosis (joint hemorrhage)
    • Anemia

    Signs of dog poisoning

    Take into account history data, clinical symptoms, laboratory tests:

    1.Clotting time test in a Petri dish

    Technique of execution: in the usual way we obtain venous blood, in a volume of 0.5 ml or more. We place it in a dry and clean Petri dish, which we place at an angle. We timed the formation of a blood clot at room temperature. It is advisable to stir the blood with an injection needle. Normally, the time required for a clot to form is 7-10 minutes. Shortening the time in the context of the topic does not matter. Elongation is observed in sepsis, liver diseases, various coagulopathies.
    In case of poisoning with indirect anticoagulants, the blood will not clot at all.
    + simplicity, availability, costs nothing, does not require special skills and equipment, is performed on site, 100% reliability
    – insufficient sensitivity

    2. Coagulogram is a blood test that includes the determination of a number of indicators that allow assessing the state of the hemostasis system.
    Hemostasis is a complex of processes as a result of which a thrombus is formed in a damaged vessel, preventing blood loss, and the blood in undamaged vessels remains liquid.
    The following indicators are usually examined:

    • TV – thrombin time
    • APTT – activated partial thromboplastin time
    • PV – prothrombin time
    • FB – fibrinogen content
    • In case of anticoagulant poisoning: lengthening of APTT and PT, while TB and FB are normal.
    • It should be borne in mind that lengthening of APTT and PT are not always associated with rodenticide poisoning. Other reasons are:
    • Violation of protein-synthetic liver function
    • Vitamin K deficiency
    • Deficiency of coagulation factors II, V, VII, X, XII
    • Heparin therapy
    • Presence of clotting factor inhibitors (lupus anticoagulant)
    • Taking certain drugs (anabolic steroids, NSAIDs, nicotinic acid)

    + sensitivity method, the ability to diagnose other hemostasis disorders.- the need for preliminary preparation of the patient (fasting diet for 10-12 hours), the complexity of obtaining a sample and delivering it to the laboratory (drain the first 0.5-1 ml of blood, a special test tube is needed, storage time 2, maximum 6 hours).

    Helping a dog in case of poisoning

    The following stages can be conditionally distinguished:

    • Pre-clinical stage
    • Correction of urgent conditions
    • Correction of hemostasis

    Preclinical phase is a great success.Rarely does the owner go to the clinic asking what to do if the dog comes into contact with a poisonous substance.
    Necessary actions:
    1. It is advisable to wash the dog, because anticoagulants have skin resorptive properties and, in addition, the dog can lick them off his own coat.
    2. Remove all baits and dispose of them, observing safety precautions (boots, mask, gloves, sealed packaging)
    3. Thoroughly vacuum and wash the floors to remove the remaining poison.
    4. Save the package from the bait.

    Correction of emergency conditions – in case of poisoning with anticoagulant rodenticides. The following life-threatening conditions may develop:

    • Gematorax
    • Anemia ˂3 * 1012 / l

    Hematorax – clinical signs: cyanosis, pallor of the mucous membranes, shortness of breath, forced posture. As a rule, animals with dangerous haematorax stand or sit, can lie only on the chest and not for long, usually refuse food and water.We can confirm the presence of hematorox by chest percussion or X-ray. The x-ray is best done on a standing animal with a horizontal beam path. Elimination of hematorox – pleurocentesis, is carried out immediately according to the standard technique from 2 sides.

    Anemia – Dogs tolerate even significant anemia well. It is important to individually assess the degree of risk. If the dog is old and has concomitant diseases, then it is possible that it will be difficult to tolerate anemia.Correction of anemia consists of transfusion of stabilized blood or direct blood transfusion. The risk of blood incompatibility during blood transfusion is insignificant, however, it cannot be forgotten.

    For correction of hemostasis use:

    • Plasma 0.5 ml / kg
    • Blood 2 ml / kg
    • Fitomenadione (K1) in case of anticoagulant poisoning of the 1st generation – 1 mg / kg / day * 14 days, II generation – 2.5-5 mg / kg / day * 3-6 weeks

    Blood or plasma transfusion should be used in cases where we need to quickly obtain a therapeutic effect and in case of anemia.Complication – incompatibility reactions, especially with repeated transfusion.
    Fitomenadione, if available, is used in the absence of clinical signs, the patient is stable. The action occurs in 1-3 days, complications – anaphylaxis with the intravenous administration.

    In case of poisoning of dogs with anticoagulants , it is undesirable to make any injections, except intravenous ones, as there is a high risk of developing hematomas and post-injection bleeding. We give K1 inside. Avoid aggressive fluid therapy, i.e.to. it can aggravate anemia. It is useless to use aminocaproic acid, dicinone, vicasol.

    Ogarkova Tatyana Nikolaevna, veterinarian,

    Pure poison – Newspaper Kommersant No. 159 (6880) from 03.09.2020

    Russia’s relations with the West were again poisoned by poison from the Novichok group.As the German authorities announced on Wednesday, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a substance of the same type, from which ex-GRU colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were seriously injured in Great Britain two years ago. Then the Western countries gave a coordinated response, resulting in an unprecedented diplomatic conflict with Moscow. And this time, literally a few minutes after the speech of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, there were also calls for the introduction of sanctions against Russia.Moscow, in turn, considers the conclusions of the FRG specialists to be unsubstantiated and demands facts.

    “This poison is uniquely determined in samples”

    A new wave of talk about the use of chemical weapons by Russia, which threatens to lead to more sanctions from the West, rose on Wednesday after the statements of the FRG authorities. According to German government spokesman Stefan Seibert, toxicological analyzes of Alexei Navalny’s blood, carried out in a German military laboratory, indicated “unequivocal evidence” that the oppositionist was poisoned by Novichok.He noted that the information is shocking and Germany “strongly condemns” this poisoning.

    Soon after, German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented on the situation. She delivered a short and restrained three-minute speech from the rostrum with the emblem of the eu2020.de website, as if reminding that the Chancellor represents not only the state that received the victim who is in a coma, but also the EU presidency, whose opinion is now especially weighty when discussing common European issues.Ms Merkel once again referred to the conclusion of military doctors:

    “Alexei Navalny became a victim of an attack using a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group. This poison is unambiguously determined in samples ”.

    Expressing sympathy for the “leading opposition politician in Russia” and his family, the chancellor announced that he had become a “victim of a crime” aimed at silencing the politician: “This is depressing information about an attempted poisoning with the purpose of murder.”

    Now, Angela Merkel demanded, the Russian government can – and should – provide an explanation. Depending on Moscow’s reaction, further decisions will be made, but the Chancellor’s words clearly hinted at new sanctions. In conclusion of her short appearance in front of reporters, Ms Merkel reiterated that Berlin would inform the EU and NATO partners about the new circumstances (expert conclusions) and they still have to “agree on a common reaction.”

    “Before the patient was taken to Berlin, in accordance with all international standards, a whole complex of tests was carried out in our country, no toxic substances were detected,” said press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov shortly after that, without mentioning the patient by name …At the same time, he recalled: “The General Prosecutor’s Office of Russia has sent an official request to the German side, hoping that an official response will be provided. Our doctors have also officially proposed the exchange of data and have not yet received, unfortunately, a response from their German colleagues. ”

    The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a more emotional statement. “Once again, we are witnessing a situation when our partners prefer loud public statements without presenting any invoice, completely disregarding the existing legal mechanisms of cooperation, to careful, based on concrete facts and evidence, to substantive interaction between law enforcement agencies and medical institutions, – said in a statement from the department.- If the task is to substantiate some pre-prepared “response measures” that were already announced earlier, then it becomes clear why megaphone diplomacy, the substitution of an information campaign for normal cooperation, public appeals to the EU and NATO, mention of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) ”.

    “We need formulas, we need statements from medical institutions, we need documentary materials that must be submitted to an official request from the Russian side.How can you object to this? Nothing is allowed. Put your data on paper, give it to the Russian side. Our embassy works around the clock and is looking forward to these materials. Everything else is simply called “information campaign”, ”- the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova personally explained the vision of Moscow on the air of the program“ 60 minutes ”on the TV channel“ Russia 1 ”.

    In the request that Ms Zakharova spoke about, prosecutors are asking for data on the politician’s treatment, as well as the results of tests for drugs, poisons, heavy metals and cholinesterase inhibitors.

    The document notes that intentional acts committed by third parties were not established – and it also contains a request to provide information about what drugs are used in the course of treatment of the politician, whether he has been diagnosed with chronic diseases, whether he suffers from diabetes mellitus, and also what are the results of biochemical blood and urine tests at the time of admission to the Charite clinic.

    At the same time, the clinic where Alexei Navalny is undergoing treatment released its statement on the patient’s state of health, specifying that it is still difficult.“Symptoms caused by proven cholinesterase inhibitor poisoning are gradually fading away. The reason for this is the restoration of cholinesterase activity. Alexei Navalny is still being treated in intensive care and on mechanical ventilation. A longer course of the disease should be expected. Long-term consequences of severe poisoning are not excluded, ”the statement says.

    Again, sanctions

    Against the background of the whole situation, there were calls for the imposition of sanctions against those responsible for the poisoning. “Germany, together with other EU states, should work out a common position with respect to Russia, which does not exclude further sanctions steps,” said Jurgen Hardt, speaker of the parliamentary faction of the ruling CDU / CSU bloc on foreign policy.

    On Wednesday, representatives from a number of countries made strong statements. “It is outrageous that chemical weapons were used against Alexei Navalny,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not question the version of German doctors. in the city of Salisbury against ex-GRU colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.- “b” ). The Russian government must now explain what happened to Navalny. ” “Together with our international partners, we will work to ensure that justice is done,” he promised on his Twitter account. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that “once again the ban on the use of any chemical weapon has been violated” and now it is “the duty of the Russian authorities” to answer all questions in view of “Navalny’s political status in Russia.” And the head of the EU’s foreign policy, Josep Borrell, drew a line under all similar, in fact, statements, saying: “the attempted murder of Navalny” should be “thoroughly and transparently” investigated by the Russian authorities.Without speaking directly about the sanctions, he promised that the EU would “closely monitor the development of this case and discuss its consequences.”

    The situation in Washington was also not ignored. “The US is deeply concerned about the results released today. The poisoning of Alexei Navalny deserves condemnation, the US National Security Council said on its Twitter account. “We will work with our allies and the international community to punish those responsible in Russia wherever the evidence leads.”

    In a conversation with Kommersant, Ivan Timofeev, Program Director of the Russian Council on International Affairs, explained that there are two “directions” for sanctions: for violation of human rights and for the use of weapons of mass destruction.

    The most probable, he sees sanctions in the second direction. “The mechanism, created back in 2018, involves the freezing of assets and visa sanctions against those who, in one way or another, create chemical weapons, use them or are involved in preparing for their use.The mechanism has already been used against four Russian citizens who, according to the EU, were involved in the Salisbury incident, ”said Mr Timofeev. He also suggested that the poisoning story could affect the EU’s position on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

    There is also a threat from the United States. “The legal mechanism already exists. There is, for example, a ready-made decree by President Donald Trump of August 1, 2019: it determined the sanctions on Salisbury, but it can also be used on Navalny.Further restrictions on lending to Russia, new export-import restrictions, lowering the level of diplomatic relations, restrictions against national airlines are possible, ”the expert suggested. According to him, the United States will not miss the topic of human rights violations, possibly using the “Magnitsky Act”.

    “The real state of affairs, the comments of our Foreign Ministry and other official structures in the West will not bother anyone. Sanctions decisions are unilateral, extrajudicial and political. Moreover, the mechanisms have already been worked out, the expert is sure.”The main question is: how far will the EU and especially the US decide to go, taking into account the possible damage to themselves.”

    The situation around Alexei Navalny, meanwhile, has already affected the Russian stock market. The Russian ruble and stock indices accelerated the fall. The dollar and the euro added two rubles during the trading session. The Moscow Exchange Index fell 1.8%, moving away from the local maximum of 3000 points. The market, like Western politicians, reacted to the news from Berlin in the same way as in 2018 to the news of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

    Alexey Naumov, Galina Dudina

    Loud poisoning of political and public figures

    Read more

    The relationship of cosmetology with bee venom

    British beauty salons were among the first to offer their clients a unique procedure. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that rejuvenation is based on the use of bee venom. The benefits of masks, in which bee venom is used, are proven and undeniable by anyone.

    Until the safety of the poison was proved by scientists, there were many theories and assumptions that differed from each other in the final properties of the poison. This was the reason that cosmetologists did not dare to use the components of bee venom in cosmetic procedures. Interesting fact: Camilla, the wife of Prince Charles, was the first English lady to agree to undergo the rejuvenation procedure noted above.

    Bee venom is a truly magical ingredient found in various skin creams, lip augmentation and care products and face masks.The popularity of bee venom and its components is constantly on the rise. What is its charm?

    It would be unfair to call bee venom a novelty in medicine and cosmetology. It has been used as a medicinal product since ancient times. Several generations before us have used bee venom in the treatment of the back (rheumatism). But today emu has been given a new status and name – “natural botox”.

    It has been proven, and more than one experiment has been carried out, that bee venom has a stimulating property for the body to produce collagen and elastin, which help to tighten the skin and strengthen it.The poison in its components contains a peptide called melitin. It is he who is distinguished by clear anti-inflammatory abilities. Is this justified by science? In a significant part of clinical studies on the study of the properties of bee venom, its ability to influence cancer cells and arthritis has been revealed, but in terms of cosmetic properties, everything is still at the stage of study and identification of new properties.

    Cosmetologists are convinced of the uniqueness of the properties of bee venom. And they say that in the future, with the correct arrangement of useful properties, it will be able to replace artificial botox. Bee venom mask improves complexion, smoothes visible fine wrinkles and dulls skin aging. Renowned cosmetologist Deborah Mitchell has patented a popular new cosmetic procedure that will cost her salon clients £ 55.00. She recommends her procedures to women over thirty.

    Plastic surgery, according to Deborah, is losing popularity among the potential age group she is considering. Many ladies realized that the youthfulness of the skin can be preserved through simple cosmetic actions.The beauty industry has pinned its hopes on lotions and gels containing bee venom, which may once again open up space for cosmetology.

    Read also in our blog:

    Garra Rufa fish – what is the use of ichthyomassage

    90,000 Drink Yada: Stories of Great Poisoning

    The Black Queen has earned a reputation as the initiator of St. Bartholomew’s Night and almost the poisoner of her own son. A stranger from the Florentine Medici family, married to Prince Henry, was immediately disliked at the French court.In addition, Italy was still considered the birthplace of the most skillful poisoners. In 1536, the heir to the French throne fell ill and died suddenly. It turned out that a glass of water, before he took to his bed, was served to the young man by an Italian, Count Sebastiano Montecuccoli, who had arrived in France with Catherine’s retinue. In those days, autopsies were already carried out, and an autopsy showed a lung disease, aggravated after the prince drank ice water. However, the Count of Montecuccoli, under torture, confessed to the poisoning and was quartered, and immediately rumors spread that it was Catherine who cleared the way to the throne for her husband Henry, the second son of King Francis I.After the death of her husband at a tournament in 1559, Catherine began to play a large role in governing the country with her three sons, who succeeded each other on the throne. It was a time of religious wars between Catholics and Protestant Huguenots, and the queen tried to be a peacemaker, then, on the contrary, acted harshly. In response, the Huguenots distributed pamphlets in which they portrayed Catherine as almost the devil in the flesh. “Propaganda is most effective when all the world’s troubles are blamed on one person.In 16th century France, Catherine was an excellent target for attacks fueled by xenophobia, social arrogance and misogyny, ”says British historian Robert Knecht. When, shortly before the wedding of Margaret, the daughter of Catherine, the groom’s mother, an ardent Protestant Jeanne d’Albret, died with Prince Henry of Navarre, it was rumored that it was the Medici who sent the poisoned gloves to the unfortunate woman. An autopsy, however, revealed advanced tuberculosis, which Jeanne had been suffering from for many years, and inflammation in her right breast.Catherine’s middle son, Charles IX, probably died of tuberculosis young, and not from poison, as in the version of the 19th century novelist Alexander Dumas, as if the book with the poisoned pages was intended for Henry of Navarre, but got to the king.

    Catherine Monvoisin: supplier of the favorite

    Chemistry of spider venom

    Spiders are the most numerous venomous animals on the planet; the number of species is about 150 thousand, which is more than the number of all other poisonous creatures combined. Almost all spiders, with only a few exceptions, produce venom that serves to immobilize prey.However, the content of spider venom varies significantly from species to species, and most are not harmful to humans.

    Classification of spider venoms

    Originally, spider venoms can be grouped into two broad categories: necrotic and neurotoxic. Necrotic (cytostatic) poisons are those that cause damage to cells and tissues after intoxication (poisoning). This can lead to inflammation, rashes, and blisters. Neurotoxic poisons, on the other hand, affect the nervous system and interfere with the transmission of signals between neurons.In extreme cases, they can lead to respiratory arrest and cardiac arrest. Note that spider venom can contain both necrotic and neurotoxic components.

    When it comes to the components of the venom themselves, they are often grouped into categories according to their molecular weights: low molecular weight compounds (up to 1000), peptides (1000-10000), and proteins (over 10000). For various spider species, any of these categories may contain the main toxic component of the venom. Despite the huge number of different species of spiders, a relatively small percentage of spider venoms were characterized by their composition.Usually, they contain a huge number of compounds from all three groups.

    Low molecular weight compounds in spider venom

    Low molecular weight compounds consist of salts, carbohydrates and small organic compounds such as amines, acids and acyl polyamines. It is speculated that the potassium ions in the salts may help the toxic portions of the venom reach their molecular targets in the victims. High concentrations of potassium ion can also affect the transmission of signals between neurons in insect nervous systems.Amines, meanwhile, can include neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine. They are just as capable of interacting with the insect’s nervous system, and also help the spread of poison in their body.

    Acylpolyamines – are essential low molecular weight toxins in some spider venoms, and over 100 of them have been characterized. Often, spider venoms contain a variety of different acyl polyamines. Their main purpose in venoms is to paralyze insects by blocking glutamate receptors.

    Peptides in spider venom

    Peptides are the main component in most spider venoms. On average, they contain approximately 25% polypeptides by weight, analysis has shown that some individual poisons can contain up to 1000 different peptides. Some contain linear, cytolytic peptides that have necrotic effects. The action of these cytolytic peptides is relatively uncertain, and they may also act in synergy with neurotoxic components.It has also been hypothesized that they have a role in the external digestion of the spider.

    Be that as it may, disulfide peptides are an important component of spider venoms, in most spider venoms they are the main toxic component. They are more potent than cytolytic peptides and also more selective in terms of their targets. They tend to be ion channels of neurons. There is also speculation that some of them are designed to scare away predators.

    Protein in spider venom

    The higher the molecular weight of the components, the more enzymes and larger proteins in the composition of the poison.Enzymes have an obvious role in the external digestion of prey by breaking down extracellular structures, they also contribute to the spread of spider venom. The enzyme hyaluronidase is also used for self-defense purposes.

    Proteins rarely act as a toxic component of a poison. However, there is a notable exception: black widow spider venom contains latrotoxins, which have been the subject of much research. α-latrotoxin, binds to nerve endings and causes a huge release of neurotransmitters into synapses, blocking signal transmission.The effect of a Black Widow spider bite can last up to 5 days, they rarely kill.

    Spiders, toxic to humans

    As mentioned at the beginning, most spider venom is generally harmless to humans. There are, however, species that are dangerous to humans: Widow (1), Hermit (2), Wandering (3) and Funnel-shaped water spiders (4).

    Application of spider venoms

    Spider venom is used in medicine. The greatest application was found by the poison of tarantula spiders for the manufacture of sedatives.The poison of the Chilean pink tarantula, introduced to a person during a heart attack, helps to escape death, reduce the risk of fibrillation. Thrombolytic agents are made from the venom of the violin spider.

    The ability of toxins to affect specific insects without harmful effects on other animals and people means that spider venoms are a potential source of insecticidal compounds.

    Chilean pink tarantula

    This article is based on the Compound Interest website.

    NU scientists have found a connection between a chemical poison in water and “sleeping sickness” in Kalachi: October 27, 2020, 14:35

    Residents of the village of Kalachi suddenly began to fall asleep at the end of 2012. People could fall unconscious while fishing, behind the stove, or while driving. In October 2015, the strange illness also suddenly stopped. A group of scientists from Nazarbayev University, led by epidemiologist Byron Crape, investigated the causes of the disease in order to explain it and prepare if the disease reappears, Tengrinews correspondent reports.kz

    According to Krape, the difference between the research of his group from all previous ones is that they not only collected data, analyzes of victims and information about soil, air and water, but also spoke in detail with all residents of Kalachi.

    “We have to listen to people, hear them, learn from them. There are very sensible ideas that just need to be taken seriously. Sometimes even we, experienced scientists, do not know what is going on. But people know. We really asked everyone and asked a bunch of questions.A total of 202 families were interviewed, “said the scientist.

    Do we live in Aleppo? Sleepy villagers seek to meet with President

    Local residents of the Kalachi village. Summer 2020. Photo © Turar Kazangapov

    Scientists were able to refute the conclusion of the international commission that the cause of “sleeping sickness” was radiation. In addition, Krape removed bacterial meningitis, genetic diseases and carbon monoxide from the list of common hypotheses. According to him, NU scientists have come closest to solving the mystery of the “sleepy” village.

    Interrogating residents, scientists learned that they all take water from one source with the help of an underground pump, which is privately owned by one of the villagers. He pumps out water and sells it to neighbors. All residents of the Kalachi village buy drinking water from him. And for pets “free” water from the river is used. By the way, the animals in the village did not suffer from “sleeping sickness”.

    “There was one single case when a woman complained that her cat slept abnormally long.Guess what? It was a domestic cat that drank water from the same pump, “noted Krape.

    A resident of the village of Kalachi. Summer 2020. Photo © Turar Kazangapov

    The theory of “poisoned” drinking water answered almost all of the researchers’ questions, so a group from Nazarbayev University decided to investigate the issue of chemical water poisoning. They decided that the most likely source of pollution could be the uranium mines nearby.

    “People could have dumped something chemical there, because the mines have been abandoned since the late 1980s. I am an epidemiologist, I do not work in a chemical plant, I do not work in military factories, but I am trying to save lives. Using information available on the Internet, we found that Pavlodar was one of the places where chemicals were developed for other purposes.

    Deep below, where there is a lot of moisture, the lower shell can begin to rust at the bottom, begin to leak.The chemical seeps into the water, and if it is underground water, it eventually reaches the people in the village. Why do some fall asleep more often and several times, while others less often? Maybe some just get a higher concentration of the chemical, and others less? “- suggested the professor.

    Abandoned house in the village of Kalachi. Summer 2020. Photo © Turar Kazangapov

    The hypothesis of a chemical poison in water has answered almost all the questions. Scientists have learned that such substances are destroyed at a temperature of 1 degree Celsius.Outbreaks of “sleeping sickness” were just typical in the cold season and disappeared in the summer.

    “Maybe for the entire period of the disease from the end of 2012 to 2015, the chemicals in barrels or barrels just completely leaked into the water, emptied. But remember that this is a hypothesis, not a conclusion. So far, the conclusion is this: it is probably a chemical that, probably gets to the inhabitants through drinking water in different concentrations “, – concluded the professor.

    A young resident of the village of Kalachi.Winter 2016. Photo © Turar Kazangapov

    However, to confirm their hypothesis, scientists need to go down to one of the uranium mines. It is too dangerous for people to go down there – the old deposit can collapse at any moment. Therefore, experts from the School of Engineering at Nazarbayev University suggested sending a drone there.

    Earlier, residents of the Kalachi village complained about big problems with water.

    “We were promised this year to carry out water on several streets, but because of the coronavirus, as we were explained, they cannot do this.Our opinion is that it seems that they won’t let us through, “said one of the local residents.

    “We are worse than the coronavirus.” How a Kazakh village is dying

    Photo © Turar Kazangapov

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