Poison vs. Venom
Difference Between Poison And Venom
Poisons are substances that can cause injury, illness, or death when they contact or enter the human body. Depending on the poison, this can happen if the poison is swallowed, inhaled, injected into or under the skin, or splashed on the skin or eyes. Some poisons cause damage only to the body area they touch. Others can enter the bloodstream, then cause harm to the nervous system (including the brain), heart, kidneys, or other body organs.
About half of all poisonings involve children under the age of 6. Such children cannot read labels. They cannot tell the difference between pills and candy, or between something good to drink and household cleaning items. Because young children learn by imitation, they will try to take medicine if they someone else taking it. Older children are sometimes poisoned by taking the wrong medicine or by mixing cleaning products that make a poisonous gas.
High-school students and adults may be exposed to poisons at work. Or they may abuse drugs, take the wrong medicine, ignore labels on cleaning products, or attempt suicide with medicines or chemicals. Older people who take a variety of medicines may mix them up or take the wrong dosages. Most deaths from poisoning are among teenagers and adults who abuse drugs or commit suicide with drugs or chemicals.
Venom is a poison secreted by certain snakes, insects, and other animals primarily for killing or paralyzing prey and as digestive juices. The toxic components of snake venoms vary according to the species of snake and include neurotoxins and various enzymes, or hemotoxins. Neurotoxins interfere with nerve conduction and cause paralysis, including paralysis of the respiratory muscles. Hemotoxins hasten absorption of the venom, attack and destroy cells, or cause hemorrhage by interfering with blood coagulation.