Information for Patients
If you are having surgery, your doctor will give you medicine called an anesthetic. Anesthetics reduce or prevent pain. There are three main types:
- Local - numbs one small area of the body. You stay awake and alert.
- Regional - blocks pain in an area of the body, such an arm or leg. A common type is epidural anesthesia, which is often used during childbirth.
- General - makes you unconscious. You do not feel any pain, and you do not remember the procedure afterwards.
You may also get a mild sedative to relax you. You stay awake but may not remember the procedure afterwards. Sedation can be used with or without anesthesia.
The type of anesthesia or sedation you get depends on many factors. They include the procedure you are having and your current health.
A poison is any substance that is harmful to your body. You might swallow it, inhale it, inject it, or absorb it through your skin. Any substance can be poisonous if too much is taken. Poisons can include
- Prescription or over-the-counter medicines taken in doses that are too high
- Overdoses of illegal drugs
- Carbon monoxide from gas appliances
- Household products, such as laundry powder or furniture polish
- Indoor or outdoor plants
- Metals such as lead and mercury
The effects of poisoning range from short-term illness to brain damage, coma, and death. To prevent poisoning it is important to use and store products exactly as their labels say. Keep dangerous products where children can't get to them. Treatment for poisoning depends on the type of poison. If you suspect someone has been poisoned, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 right away.