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Toxins are poisonous substances that can harm your body. If your doctor is concerned that your symptoms are caused by exposure to a toxic substance, they may ask you about your home, your work, your family, and other aspects of your environment.
You also may have blood tests or X-rays to find out if a toxin is in your body. For example, you may have been around smoke from a fire. Or you may have been around fumes from paints, solvents, or waste products from workshops or factories. But in some cases it may be hard to find out what you may have been exposed to. Sometimes it can take years before you have symptoms. For instance, a miner may have lung disease many years after working in mines. And being exposed to some toxins can make health problems you already have worse.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Keep in mind that the farther away you are from a hazardous source, the less exposure you will receive.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: March 2, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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