Rely on the emergency medicine specialists at Essentia Health to take fast action if you or a loved one are exposed to a toxic substance. In some cases, your emergency room doctor may consult with Essentia's toxicologist in Duluth, Minnesota.

What's a Toxicologist?

A toxicologist is a specialist who can diagnose and treat:

  • Accidental or intentional drug overdoses
  • Allergic reactions to medications or other substances
  • Exposure through swallowing, breathing in, or touching toxic substances like chemicals, gases, or other products

Symptoms of Poisoning

Poisoning can be life-threatening. Get medical help right away if you or someone else have come in contact with a substance you know is poisonous or unsafe. Symptoms may include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Burns or redness around the mouth
  • Confusion
  • Passing out
  • Seizures
  • Trouble staying awake
  • Vomiting

Poisoning First Aid

While you wait for help, avoid the toxic substance or try to remove it if possible. If the poison was:

  • Swallowed – Don’t try to cause vomiting; instead, remove any remaining material from the mouth
  • On the skin or eyes – Rinse affected areas with water
  • Inhaled – Find and breathe fresh air

Toxicology Tests

Bring any pill bottles, containers, or other materials with information about the substance with you to the emergency room. Once you arrive, our team may run toxicology tests on your:

  • Blood
  • Saliva
  • Stomach contents
  • Sweat
  • Urine


Our doctors will recommend treatment based on your age, symptoms, and the type and amount of the substance you came into contact with. 

Get Help

If you or a loved one have been exposed to a toxic substance, call 911 or visit your local emergency department right away.

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