Acute toxicity occurs when an individual undergoes single or multiple exposures to a substance within a very short timeframe, usually around 24 hours. The dose at which toxic effects from a given substance are experienced will vary based on genetics and age at exposure. Adverse symptoms manifest within a short period of time, usually within two weeks of the initial exposure. Even if the body is only briefly exposed to a toxic level of a substance, it can still cause damage. In most cases, the health consequences are temporary and reverse shortly after discontinuing exposure to the substance. Treating acute toxicity often involves immediate action such as an emergency shower, eye wash, or stomach pumping to remove as much of the toxic substance from the body as possible. If you are accidentally exposed to a very high level of any substance, including essential oils, you should immediately contact poison control and a health care professional.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Acute Toxicity:

  • Headache, dizziness, or drowsiness
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Excessive secretory function (mucus, sweat, saliva, tears, etc.)
  • Altered mental state
  • Irritation, redness, or swelling of skin or other tissues
  • Ataxia or convulsions
  • Generalized muscle weakness

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