Diagnosis of Poisoning

Prompt diagnosis of poisoning is necessary to determine treatment and help prevent complications. To diagnose poisoning, physicians often take a patient history (including information about exposure to toxic substance and symptoms) and perform a physical examination and laboratory tests (e.g., blood tests).

In children, parents and caregivers should provide as much information as possible about the toxic substance and the child's exposure to it (e.g., how long was the child exposed, how much did he or she ingest, how long after exposure did symptoms develop, what symptoms occurred).

Laboratory tests may be used to detect blood or urine levels of the poisonous substance and to determine how well the child's body is handling (e.g., metabolizing, excreting) the substance.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 27 Aug 2008

Last Modified: 01 Oct 2015