Antidote

Antidote

[an-ti-doht]

An antidote or counterdose is a substance which can counteract a form of poisoning. The term ultimately derives from the Greek αντιδιδοναι antididonai, "given against".

Sometimes, the antidote for a particular toxin is manufactured by injecting the toxin into an animal in small doses and the resulting antibodies are extracted from the animals' blood. The venom produced by some snakes, spiders, and other venomous animals is often treatable by the use of these antivenins, although a number do lack one, and a bite or sting from such an animal often results in death. Some animal venoms, especially those produced by arthropods (e.g. certain spiders, scorpions, bees, etc.) are only potentially lethal when they provoke allergic reactions and induce anaphylactic shock; as such, there is no "antidote" for these venoms because it is not a form of poisoning, though anaphylactic shock can be treated (e.g., by the use of epinephrine).

Some other toxins have no known antidote. For example, the poison ricin, which is produced from the waste byproduct of castor oil manufacture, has no antidote, and as a result is often fatal if it enters the human body in sufficient quantities.

Ingested poisons are frequently treated by the oral administration of activated charcoal, which absorbs the poison, and then it is flushed from the digestive tract, removing a large part of the toxin.

Poisons which are injected into the body (such as those from bites or stings from venomous animals) are usually treated by the use of a constriction band which limits the flow of lymph and/or blood to the area, thus slowing circulation of the poison around the body.

Poison and toxic signs

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