Mercury can be found in many common household items including glass thermometers, batteries, fluorescent lightbulbs, etc.
The main cause of mercury Poisoning is consuming a diet of fish or foods that contains high levels of selenium and mercury. Exposure to mercury can also come from breathing contaminated air (fumes from burning charcoal) or from direct exposure to mercury when working in laboratories, dentist's offices, clinics, hospitals, etc.
Young children can be exposed to mercury by eating a diet high in selenium. Foods that contain selenium include Fish (tuna, sardines, salmon), poultry (chicken, turkey), eggs, meat (beef, liver, lamb, pork); shellfish (oysters, mussels, shrimp, clams, scallops); nuts (sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts); mushrooms, onions and grains.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of mercury poisoning in adults include weakness and/or numbness in arms and legs, inability to walk, shaking tremors in hands, a sensation of pins and needles, itching or burning in the hands and feet. Discoloration of fingertips and toes. Swelling and peeling of skin. Visual problems (blurred vision, double vision, blindness); memory problems, seizures, and brain damage from longterm exposure.
Signs and symptoms of mercury poisoning in children include: redness in cheeks, nose and lips, loss of hair, teeth, and nails, skin rash, muscle weakness, increased sensitivity to light, memory lapses, kidney failure, etc.
Inhaling elemental mercury (fumes from burning charcoal) can cause difficulty breathing, cough, metallic taste in mouth, vomiting, swollen, bleeding gums.
An overdose of mercury can result in internal hemorrhage, kidney failure, and death.
Treatment for mercury poisoning depends on the type of exposure.
If the mercury is inhaled, treatment includes:
For mercury that is ingested, the treatment includes:
If you or anyone you know has been exposed to mercury, consult your personal physician or a health care provider. You can also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
This has been your Medical Minute.
More Info On the Web
Mercury Poisoning - Medicine Net
Mercury Poisoning - Medline Plus
Mercury Toxicity - eMedicine
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