Poisoninggeneral principles

Poisoning should be considered in patients presenting with altered consciousness, respiratory or cardiovascular depression, vomiting, hypothermia or seizures. The history usually makes diagnosis obvious although clinical signs may be confused due to ingestion of multiple poisons or absent if effects are delayed. It should be remembered that poisons may enter the body via routes other than ingestion, e.g. inhalation or transdermally. Salicylate and paracetamol are extremely common agents in self-poisoning and patients often present with no alteration of consciousness.

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