Acute nicotine poisoning
The history of the addiction, from which even in the twenty-first century, people continue to suffer, began a long time ago, from time immemorial, when the Indians chewed on the fresh leaves of a plant that later became known to the whole world under the name “tobacco”. In Europe, he became known from the sixteenth century, when a French diplomat, Jean Nico, imported tobacco from Spain to France, and recommended using it as a migraine aid.
In those days, tobacco was used in an unpurified form, extracting from it oils containing specific alkaloids. Snuff, chewing tobacco, various mixtures intended for smoking - there were a lot of ways to use at that time. The power of habituation to this substance made tobacco dealers rich. And like any phenomenon that brings money, tobacco has become the object of close research and study. At the beginning of the 19th century, German researchers obtained a pure substance, the tobacco alkaloid, which they named “nicotine” in honor of Jean Nico.
As it turned out, nicotine had a strong effect on all body systems, but this effect was far from the most favorable.
The effect of nicotine on the body
Nicotine is an alkaloid that is part of the green parts of plants belonging to the group of nightshade. Such plant poison is found not only in tobacco, but also in bell pepper, tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes (in small quantities).
In small amounts, nicotine, entering the human body, has a stimulating (stimulating) effect on certain body systems. But with significant doses, nicotine intoxication occurs, which is accompanied by functional disorders of the cardiovascular, nervous system, as well as the blood and respiratory system.
Now for people who have become hostages of nicotine addiction, cigarettes are a source of nicotine.
But, besides nicotine, cigarettes contain other substances. Such as:
- hydrocyanic acid;
- stearic acid;
- acetic acid;
Cigarette smoking causes nicotine poisoning, which can occur with one-time or regular use.
Currently, in medical practice, acute and chronic nicotine poisoning is isolated.
Acute nicotine poisoning occurs most often in non-smokers, whose bodies are not accustomed to fighting the constantly flowing poison. As a rule, novice smokers such symptoms disappear in the first hours after poisoning. However, lethargy, impaired attention and headache may accompany even up to two days.
Chronic poisoning is more common in heavy smokers, who smoke more cigarettes a day. The dose at which poisoning occurs can be individual for everyone. A deadly dose is considered to be about 40–80 milligrams of nicotine taken once.
Symptoms of nicotine poisoning
The very first signs of acute nicotine poisoning are:
- cold extremities;
- increased sweating;
- pallor of the skin;
- shallow, irregular breathing;
- tremor of limbs;
Symptoms of chronic nicotine poisoning are:
- cardiovascular disorders (arrhythmia, bradycardia, hypertensive crisis, spasm of large vessels);
- disorders of the digestive tract (hypersecretion of gastric juice, increased salivation, pain in the epigastric region);
- neurological symptoms (impaired speech, clouding of consciousness, trembling of hands, loss of consciousness, neurosis-like states);
- trophic disorders (weight loss).
Symptoms of acute nicotine poisoning most often occur with a change in the phases of inhibition and excitation of the nervous system.
At occurrence of the first signs of nicotine poisoning, the victim should be given first aid.
First aid for nicotine poisoning
First aid in case of nicotine poisoning can be provided by anyone nearby. For this you need:
- if possible, bring the victim to the street or open a window;
- if a person is unconscious, bring the cotton dipped with ammonia with alcohol to the nose;
- to wash the stomach with boiled water or a weak saline solution;
- give enterosorbents (activated carbon, Smekta, Polyphepan);
- provide abundant alkaline drink (non-carbonated water, sweet black tea, milk, dogrose broth);
- provide the victim with rest by laying in a warm bed to the side (to prevent aspiration of vomit).
In the event of a life-threatening condition for the patient, an ambulance team should be called in immediately, indicating the symptoms of nicotine poisoning. When losing consciousness, the patient must be laid on one side, while bending one knee (for a stable position of the victim), provide fresh air, bring liquid ammonia to the nose.
If there is a violation of cardiac activity, an indirect massage of the heart should be immediately carried out, at the same time conducting artificial respiration using the “mouth to mouth” method.
It should also be remembered that long-term regular smoking leads to the development of chronic diseases. The nervous and cardiovascular systems are primarily affected due to constant hypoxia (insufficient oxygen supply). As a result, neurosis, hallucinations, frequent mood changes, possible stroke, frequent increase in blood pressure (up to the chronic process), increased heart rate, heartbeat, myocardial infarction, damage to the vascular walls. In addition to all this, in heavy smokers in most cases develop diseases of the respiratory system. The most common pathology among them is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). At which there is an irreversible restriction of air flow into the lower respiratory tract. In the event of such a pathology, the patient can no longer “breathe deeply”. In the morning, he suffers from a paroxysmal cough, and shortness of breath does not leave even in a calm state.
Remember, starting to smoke, you put yourself at risk of nicotine poisoning. Even if until today this problem has passed you, it is worth thinking about how much poison enters your body and whether it is worth risking your health for such dubious pleasure.