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Accidental Ingestion: Nontoxic (Adult)

You have been evaluated and treated for accidentally taking too much of a medicine, using someone else's medicine by mistake, or swallowing a chemical product. There is no sign of toxic effect at this time. It's not likely that any new symptoms will appear. But to be safe, watch for symptoms during the next 24 hours (see below). The symptoms will depend on what was swallowed.

Home care

  • If liquid charcoal was given to neutralize what was swallowed, your stool may be black for 1 to 2 days. A laxative may be given with charcoal. This speeds the removal of any toxins from the intestines. This may cause diarrhea for up to 24 hours.

  • If you have been given charcoal but no laxative, you may become constipated. If this occurs, you may take an over-the-counter laxative.


  • Keep medicines, pesticides, and other household chemicals in their original containers.

  • Keep all substances in a safe place. Store household products in a different place than food and medicine.

  • Use household products as instructed on the label. Mixing products can be dangerous.

  • Take medicine as directed by your healthcare provider. Read the label carefully.

  • If a medicine doesn't work, contact your healthcare provider. Don't take extra medicine.

  • Don't take someone else's medicine.

In the future, if you or someone you know takes something possibly harmful and you are not sure what to do, call the Poison Control Centers. The phone number is 800-222-1222. The phone line is staffed 24 hours a day. If you call, you will be connected to the poison control center closest to you.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

Call 911

Call 911 if any of these occur.

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing, wheezing

  • Severe confusion

  • Extreme drowsiness or trouble awakening

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Very slow heart rate

  • Very low or very high blood pressure

  • Vomiting blood, or large amounts of blood in stool

  • Seizure

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur.

  • Shakiness

  • Fast breathing (over 25 breaths per minute) or slow breathing (less than 8 breaths per minute)

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Vomiting or diarrhea for more than 24 hours

  • Abdominal pain

  • Dizziness or weakness

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Ronald Karlin MD
Date Last Reviewed: 10/1/2022
© 2000-2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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