A toxin is a poison made by living cells or organisms. Toxins can
cause health problems on contact or when they are absorbed by the body.
The severity of a reaction to a toxin varies greatly. A bee sting
causes a minor reaction in most people. But eating food containing botulinum toxin can cause a deadly
reaction. Usually, the severity of the health problem caused by a toxin depends
How often a person is exposed to the
How much toxin was in contact with or absorbed by the body.
How poisonous the toxin is.
Treatment can be as simple as staying away from the toxin and
limiting future exposure. In some cases, treatment with substances, such as anti-venom, can prevent serious illness.
Fortunately, the levels of most toxins in the environment are low.
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Peter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH - Occupational and Environmental Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.