Poison and Venom ( both are toxin but different)

Leishangthem Punshiba *

POISON : Substances which are secreted by organisms /plants /animals which when comes in CONTACT with Skin / Ingestion / Inhalation / Through wound, produces irritation/ diseases, which can be serious or mild. ( if you bite it and you die, itís poison)

Or POISON could be MAN made.

VENOM : Substances which are produced and can cause serious or mild diseases / irritation through INJECTION by bites or sting. (if it bites you and you die, itís venom)

There is no known knowledge about VENOM causing disease or irritation when comes in CONTACT rather than INJECTION. However ONE must avoid any of this, whether it may be poison or venom.

SOME COMMON HOUSEHOLD ITEMS which can be fatal POISONOUS substances :-

o Cosmetics
o Detergents
o Pesticides
o Nail glue remover /nail primer
o Batteries Button
o Gasoline oil
o Kerosine oil
o Petrol oil
o Lighter fluid
o Paint thinner
o Alcohol
o CO2 (carbon monoxide gas - invisible killer, more during night time)
o Polluted air
o Drugs poisoning (pain killer, paracetamol, antibiotics, sedatives, etc)
o Vitamin ( Hypervitaminosis A-Vit A toxicity most common )

SOME COMMON SEEDS of (when consume in excess) :-

o Apple
o Apricot
o Cherries
o Peaches
o Nectarines
o Plum


o Autumn crocus
o Caladium
o Dumb cane
o Peace lily
o Others :- Elephant ear ( most probably pankhok la), Jimson weed, Lantana (sambal lei), Poison hemlock (often found in backyard).
o Cannabis and its product (Ganja, Bhang, Charas/ Hashish/ hash )
o Ratti /Gunja.
o Mercury Poisoning :- Polluted water fish ( common fish - Marlin, Tuna, Shark, Sword fish, King Mackerel, Tilefish )
o Lead Poisoning :- Lead paint, contaminated air/ water/ food, Lead Pipe Water.
o Phosphorus Poisoning :- White colour - poisonous and Red colour ( side of MATCH BOX)- Non poisonous.
o Datura Poisoning :- Road poison or Railway Platform poison.
o Opium Poisoning :- Morphine, Codeine, Heroin, Cocaine.
o Acid / Alkali Poisoning.
o One of the most common poisoning is FOOD POISONING (inappropriately cooked or uncooked, non hygienic roadside food venders).
o There is also poisonous Frog, Snakes, Insects etc etc.

VENOM :- Most common source from SNAKES ( in our region). About 2500-3000 species of snakes and yet some are to be discovered, out of this, only about 500 species of snakes world wide are venomous, out of 500 only few are present in our region.

SOME COMMON SNAKES found in India :-

o Elapidae family :- Common Krait ( NEUROTOXIN- MORE FATAL THAN COBRA since its minimum fatal dose is 6 mg)
o Cobra ( NEUROTOXIN) (fatal dose 12 mg)
o Sea Snake ( MYOTOXIN)
o Viperidae family :- Vipers ( eggs hatch inside body and gives birth to young ones ) - VASCULOTOXIN, HEMATOXIN. ( Rattle snakes, Russellís snakes, Pit Viper )
o SCORPION VENOM ( neurotoxin )


o Bee Sting
o Insects (not all insects)
o Jelly fish, Stone Fish, Lion Fish etc.
o Arthropods [common MIRANG-spider, NACHAN-centipede]

Easy ways to identify venomous and non-venomous bite mark for common people :-

VENOMOUS :- 2 LONG FANGS ( 2 bite marks)
Mostly NOCTURNAL (active at NIGHT )

NON-VENOMOUS :- Multiple teeth ( semi rounded and multiple bite marks )

There are many ways to identify from scales to head size to tail etc etc.

Best is to avoid confrontation and some SNAKES could also be POISONOUS although very rare in our region.

Children are most common victim than compare to adult.

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT (some basic knowledge) :-

o Keep common household products out of reach from children, such as cosmetics, detergents, kerosene oil, pesticides etc etc.
o Safe storage of Drugs or out of reach.
o Keep away the harmful decorative plants, if any confusion consult an BOTANIST to identify the species or buy a decor from known vendor.
o Use of gloves to handle any suspicious material and proper disposal to a safe area.
o A good hygiene : Hand wash (before n after), Washing Fruits n Vegetables before consumption.
o Avoid any suspicious poisonous substance.

o OPHIDOPHOBIA :- Ophis - snake, Phobia - fear.
o Irrespective of snakes, no wild animals, wants to confront any other species (except for food).
o The best way to prevent from snake bite is to avoid confrontation.
o Until and Unless one tries to do stupid thing snakes/ scorpion are unlikely to attack.
o CONFRONTATION happens when Human/Animal tries to protect their territory or young ones or when they feel threaten.
o Consult an expert and educate oneself or a group of people in a prone areas.
o Spread awareness, acquire and gain knowledge.


o Stay calm and relaxed, the more you panic, more the victim loses hope and heart rate increases (as a result of panicking) which help in flow of the venom.
o Reassurance the victim, that not all snakes are venomous and it could be a DRY BITE.
o Clean the bite site with disinfectant if possible and remove any tight clothing and rings etc.
o Immediately immobilised the bite limb ( hand or leg) with splint (stick) and keep the bite limb to the level of heart.
o Do not try to suck, do not apply cuts or tourniquet, let it flow and bleed freely.
o If possible try taking a picture of the snake for identification when you reach ER in HOSPITAL for further treatment evaluation.
o Shout out for help and call ambulance.

Eat well, sleep well; health is wealth.

* Leishangthem Punshiba wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at l(DOT)punshiba(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on December 22, 2018.

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