Medical Encyclopedia

Mercury poisoning

What is mercury poisoning?

Net mercury from broken thermometer evaporates at room temperature and is very poisonous. In addition, you can get poisoned and mercury-containing paints or substances intended for disinfection. Symptoms appear after an erroneous admission of these fluids. Mercury, as well as its compounds is highly toxic. For acute or chronic poisoning is enough of a relatively small amount of mercury. Domestic mercury poisoning usually occurs by inhalation of its vapors, resulting from damage to the thermometer or barometer, when the metal in the form of small balls poured out on the floor and starts to evaporate. Chronic mercury poisoning can occur in humans, inhaled mercury vapors in poorly ventilated areas, as well as food. In this case, mercury accumulates in the body; its urinary excretion is slow.

Symptoms of mercury poisoning

  • Irritation of the mucous membrane.
  • Nausea.
  • Feces mixed with blood.
  • The dark rim of mercury sulphide on the gums.

Symptoms of acute mercury poisoning manifest themselves immediately. There is a mucous membrane irritation, excessive salivation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain. Later damaged mucosa of colon and small intestine in humans begins diarrhea mixed with blood in the stool. The first symptoms of chronic mercury poisoning are dry mouth, diarrhea. On the gums appear dark fringe, the teeth become loose. Later, attacks the central nervous system, possible convulsions face and extremities, and with a strong poisoning - the whole body.

Causes of mercury poisoning

The causes of mercury poisoning can be very diverse, they are all connected with the devices, machines or production. In a domestic environment the most common cause of poisoning by mercury thermometer is broken or spilled mercury in chemistry and physics lessons in school.

Treatment of mercury poisoning

Mercury poisoning

Mercury poisoning is dangerous. You must immediately seek medical help.

When mercury vapor poisoning is an urgent need to call an ambulance or go to the nearest hospital! Before the arrival of ambulance, try to drink as much milk. However, you then need to provoke vomiting to remove all the liquid you drink.

In acute poisoning, the doctor cleanses the stomach, followed by activated charcoal, intravenous sodium thiosulfate solution, additional measures are taken to protect the liver and kidneys. In severe cases of poisoning, the doctor inserts a so-called BAL preparation. This drug was created by British military doctors to treat poisoning caused by lewisite as a result of the use of chemical weapons, but found that its use is effective in the treatment of poisoning caused by some heavy metals.

Course of the disease

If you are not mercury poisoning be treated, after the manifestation of symptoms and ailments may be impaired function of the central nervous system (erethismus mercuriales): reduced mental capacity, there are mental disorders, tremors, convulsions, general exhaustion. Often as a result of shock or renal failure, a man poisoned by mercury, is dying. With regular use of inhaled or low doses of mercury (its vapors) may develop chronic poisoning, the main symptoms of which are disorders of the central nervous system (fatigue, memory problems, frequent headaches), lesions of the skin and its derivatives. If you have these symptoms the doctor must make a detailed toxicological analysis of blood, urine and hair. At the same time will also consider the possibility of poisoning by other heavy metals, because the symptoms of poisoning are quite similar.

If you broke a mercury thermometer

If you broke a mercury thermometer, you should open a window to try to collect in a container all the metal balls, close tightly and take it to the pharmacy. Then you should ventilate the area.

Rules for dealing with mercury

In contact with human mercury compounds (eg, agriculture, chemical or biological laboratories) should comply with certain precautions:

  • In no case do not take by mouth pipette, trying to drag her into a solution containing mercury.
  • Make sure that your fingers, which may be particles of mercury, do not touch your mouth.
  • If you are working with pure mercury, take care of the regular airing of the working space.
  • Do not eat in areas where there is mercury.

Other articles on this topic:

Smoke poisoning

Lead poisoning