Acute poisonings with nitrates are rare, but intoxication with these compounds can be severe, even ending with the death of the patient. Particularly dangerous are nitrate poisoning in children under the age of one year.
Nitrates are salts of nitric acid. In the clinical context, poisonings with nitrates and nitrites are considered, since in the human body the former are able to turn into the latter. The latter compounds are more toxic to humans.
Than nitrates are dangerous
Poisoning occurs most often when using plant products that have received a large dose of nitrogen fertilizers. Also, the danger poses well and other drinking water when nitrogen compounds enter it from the soil.
Intoxication can occur due to accidental ingestion of nitrogen fertilizers. So, if you get 3.5 grams of potassium nitrate into the stomach, it may be fatal.
The list of products that are most commonly used for poisoning with nitrates and nitrites is as follows:
- early greenhouse cucumbers;
- greens, salads;
- watermelons and melons;
Getting into the body, nitrates disrupt the movement of oxygen by blood and the processes of tissue respiration. As a result, the lack of oxygen and the disruption of the functioning of all systems and organs, and in the first place - the cardiovascular system. In addition, they have a vasodilator effect, which causes a drop in blood pressure and further exacerbates the state of hypoxia (lack of oxygen).
Symptoms of nitrate poisoning
Symptoms of nitrate poisoning in many ways depend on what the poison entered the body. When eating toxic fruits and vegetables, the first signs appear four hours later.
- Blue lips and mucous membranes, nail bed.
- Nausea and vomiting, pain in the stomach.
- Diarrhea, sometimes with the blood of a chocolate shade (characteristic for nitrate poisoning symptom).
- Soreness in the liver, eye yellowness.
In severe cases, there are irregularities in the functioning of the nervous system: pain in the nape, dizziness, drowsiness or anxiety, coordination disorder, convulsions and coma.
If intoxication has occurred as a result of drinking water with a high content of nitrates, the first symptoms will appear in an hour. Diarrhea is usually absent.
In practice, there are also cases of subacute nitrate poisoning. There are signs of a hypoxic condition of the tissues: shortness of breath, palpitation, rapid fatigue, cyanotic skin.
Nitrate poisoning in children
Children can be poisoned by the occasional use of nitrogenous fertilizers, the preparation of milk mixtures on low-quality water, with the content of nitrates in complementary vegetables, in fruit juices.
When nitrates are poisoned in children, the symptoms are more evidence of a defeat of the circulatory and nervous system:
- blue lips and nails;
- decreased mobility;
- with severe hypoxia - impaired coordination, convulsions.
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are less pronounced and may be absent. The clinical picture can be similar to toxic pneumonia.
What to do with nitrate poisoning? If there is no disturbance of consciousness, then you should induce vomiting. To do this, drink two or three glasses of a slightly pink solution of potassium permanganate or salted water. After cleansing the stomach take any drug from the group of enterosorbents:
- Polysorb MP;
- Activated carbon.
After stopping nausea, you can drink strong sweet tea with lemon. To speed up the removal of nitrates from the body, you need to drink plenty of fluids!
When digestive disorders are applied sparing diet: exclude harmful products, pay attention to cereals and stewed vegetables, low-fat cooked meat. Help to recover from the disease green tea, pickled cucumbers, sauerkraut, bread kvass. Alcohol - exacerbates the toxic effect.
In severe cases, poisoning with nitrates will require the help of a doctor. Immediately call an ambulance if:
- there are signs of damage to the nervous system;
- vomiting and diarrhea do not stop;
- develops severe shortness of breath;
- blood pressure decreases, darkens in the eyes.
Treatment of nitrate poisoning
With nitrate poisoning, treatment includes a set of measures to eliminate hypoxia, restore hemoglobin, accelerate the removal of toxins from the body.
Intravenously injected solutions of methylene blue, ascorbic acid, glucose, sodium thiosulfate. Assign oxygen therapy.
Also used drugs to maintain cardiac activity and restore tissue respiration: coenzyme A, Cocarboxylase, B vitamins, insulin.
Chronic poisoning and long-term consequences
The body is basically able to compensate for the harmful effects of small doses of nitrates. The mechanism of action of this poison has been studied mainly in relation to water. Creating a state of prolonged hypoxia, nitrates cause abnormalities in all tissues. Especially sensitive to lack of oxygen are growing embryonic tissues - nitrates can have embryotoxic and teratogenic effects on the fetus in the womb, although this property is proven only for pets. Also in veterinary practice, the effect of nitrates on miscarriages in sows, sheep, cows and other animals has been revealed.
In children, chronic hypoxia causes a backlog in mental and physical development, increased nervous excitability, disruption of the work of the heart and blood vessels, a decrease in immunity to infectious diseases.
How to avoid nitrate poisoning
A surge of poisoning occurs in the spring - the period of receipt of the first greenhouse products on the shelves, and in the middle of summer - the beginning of ripening of melons. Prevention of nitrate poisoning is the consumption of quality foods and drinking water.
- Watermelons are bought at certified trade points. Do not buy watermelons too early. The season for them comes in late August, so it is likely that the early watermelons stimulated significant doses of nitrogen fertilizers. Also, watermelons should not be given to young children.
- The content of nitrates in products decreases during the heat treatment. Therefore, water must be boiled, and potatoes, beets and carrots - cook.
- Soaking vegetables and greens in water, you reduce the risk of poisoning.
- Most of the nitrates are in the surface layers of the plant: in the peel, in watermelons - in pulp under the crust, in parsley - in the stem, in cabbage - in the upper leaves.
- Freshly squeezed juices should be consumed immediately, as during storage nitrates pass into more toxic nitrites. You can not allow the cooked beets or potatoes to cool for a long time - they can also form nitrites.
As a result of improper application of nitrogen fertilizers, nitric acid compounds, nitrates, can accumulate in soil and water. They pass into vegetables and fruits and enter the human body. Nitrate poisoning develops, the symptoms and treatment of which are similar to poisoning with nitrites and nitrosamines. The processes of oxygen supply to tissues are violated because of the transition of hemoglobin into an inactive compound - methemoglobin. Outwardly this is manifested by the cyanosis of the lips and nails, shortness of breath, dizziness, a drop in blood pressure, a violation of the heart activity, headaches. Severe poisoning causes severe hypoxia (lack of oxygen), convulsions, to whom and can lead to death. Children under the age of one year and people with chronic cardiovascular diseases are especially sensitive to nitrates.