g. Removal of Poison by Elimination. Poisons can be removed from the body
through the process of elimination by these organs: kidneys, lungs, liver,
gastrointestinal tract, skin, and salivary glands.
(1) Kidneys. One of the activities of the kidneys is to remove toxic wastes
from the blood. Some poisons can be removed in this manner.
(2) Lungs. In the exchange of gases in the lungs, some poisons can be part
of that exchange and eventually eliminated by being breathed out during the respiration
(3) Liver. Liver cells contain enzymes that either break down some poisons
or transform such poisons into less harmful compounds. The compounds are
eventually excreted by the kidneys and sweat glands.
(4) Gastrointestinal tract. Some poisons can be eliminated by expelling the
contents of the stomach through the mouth by way of the gastrointestinal tract.
Skin. Some poisons can be eliminated through the sweat glands of the
(6) Salivary glands. Urea and uric acid are found in saliva because the
saliva- producing glands help rid the body of wastes. Some poisons are eliminated by
the salivary glands also.
h. Poison Removal by Diuresis. Poisons may be excreted from the system by
the use of diuretics, medicines that increase the production of urine. The most
damaging effects of poisons are found at the points of excretion; therefore, it is a good
idea to eliminate poisons as quickly as possible from the body. If you do not know
exactly about the urinary output of a specific poison, hydrate the patient enough to
maintain a copious urine output. Be careful not to give the patient too much liquid
otherwise his circulatory system may be overloaded.
i. Removal of Poison by Cathartics. Cathartics are drugs used to empty the
bowel by speeding intestinal contents through the gastrointestinal tract faster than
laxatives. Cathartic drugs increase the emptying of the bowels by increasing bulk of the
content and speeding up the movement of muscle fibers which push contents through
the intestines or colon.
DO NOT give magnesium citrate, a cathartic, if diarrhea is present.