Encyclopedia > Antidote

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An antidote is a substance which can counteract a form of poisoning.

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 and spiders is often treatable by the use of antidotes, although a number do lack one, and a bite from such an animal often results in death.

However, some 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 often 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 often treated by the use of a tourniquet[?] which limits blood flow to the area, thus slowing circulation of the poison around the body.

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