Nicotine Poisoning: Risks, Symptoms, Treatment


Nicotine is known to be very addictive. It is largely found in tobacco plants. It can be acquired through smoking and chewing. It can also be obtained through second-hand smoke. But aside from the common dangers of excessive exposure to nicotine, it can also cause nicotine poisoning.

Who are prone to nicotine poisoning?

Smokers are found to be prone to various health problems associated to smoking and chewing tobacco. Despite this, they are not that prone to nicotine poisoning. Many of the victims of such poisoning are children since they have low tolerance to such dangerous drug. It has been reported that most of the victims of poisoning are children who are exposed to tobacco, cigarette, nicotine gum, or patches.

This poisoning is generally not acquired through smoking. It can be obtained through direct contact with or chewing tobacco leaves. Children are also prone to be poisoned if they accidentally chewed nicotine gums. They can also be infected when they come in close contact with lots of tobacco leaves. The mode of transmission is not only through inhaling and chewing. The poison can also go inside the child’s body through the skin.

What are the sings and symptoms?

The poisoning signs can be mild or severe, depending on how exposed the child is to the nicotine. The most common signs are the ones listed below:

Ø  Neurologic symptoms

  • Convulsions
  • Depression
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Headache

Ø  Cardiovascular symptoms

  • Heartbeat – pounding and rapid, followed by slow heart rate
  • High blood pressure, which then drops

Ø  Respiratory symptoms

  • Breathing – stops
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Breathing – rapid


Ø  Gastrointestinal symptoms

Ø  Musculoskeletal symptoms

  • Muscular twitching
  • Weakness

What to do to control and treat?

When you suspect poisoning not overdose, do not let or make the patient throw up. This could worsen the symptom. You should call poison control or seek any medical help.  If the poison was acquired through the skin, you should wash the skin with soap and clean water for approximately 15 minutes.

Before you call for emergency help, you should determine the patient’s age, weight, and condition. It is also important to determine how the poison was acquired. Was it swallowed or inhaled? But if the situation is really that worst, you have to call for medical help right away. Just make sure you know the hotline number of poison control and any other emergency medical treatment.

The patient will likely be given activated charcoal to control them. He will then be given other medications to manage and eliminate them. Mild cases do not really need hospitalization because the symptoms likely disappear after they have been treated. But if it is severe, you really have to admit the patient in the hospital so that he will be closely monitored.

You should not disregard the signs of poisoning. Remember that it could possibly lead to serious health complications and death. Preventing such poisoning is simple. Just make sure you keep any product with tobacco away from the reach of children. Poisoning is a serious health condition; so as much as possible, try to stay away from it.

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