Acute poisoning with nitrates is rare, but intoxication with these compounds can be severe, even result in the death of the patient. Especially dangerous poisoning with nitrates in children under the age of one year.
Nitrates are salts of nitric acid. In the clinical context, poisoning with nitrates and nitrites is considered, since in the human body the first can turn into the second. The latter compounds are more toxic to humans.
What are the dangerous nitrates
Poisoning occurs most often when using crop products that have received a large dose of nitrogen fertilizers. Also danger is well and other drinking water if nitrogen compounds from the soil enter it.
Intoxication can occur due to accidental ingestion of nitrogen fertilizers. So, if you get into the stomach of 3.5 grams of potassium nitrate, possibly fatal poisoning.
The list of products, the use of which most often occur poisoning with nitrates and nitrites is as follows:
- early greenhouse cucumbers;
- greens, salads;
- watermelons and melons;
Once in the body, nitrates interfere with the movement of oxygen by the blood and the processes of tissue respiration. As a result, a lack of oxygen and a dysfunction of all systems and organs, and in the first place - the cardiovascular system, develop. In addition, they have a vasodilating effect, which causes a drop in blood pressure and further aggravates the state of hypoxia (lack of oxygen).
Signs of nitrate poisoning
Symptoms of poisoning with nitrates largely depend on what the poison entered the body. When eating toxic vegetables and fruits, the first signs appear after four hours.
- Blue lips and mucous membranes, nail bed.
- Nausea and vomiting, stomach pain.
- Diarrhea, sometimes with chocolate-tinged blood (a sign characteristic of nitrate poisoning).
- Soreness in the liver, yellowness of the proteins of the eyes.
In severe cases, there are impaired functioning of the nervous system: pain in the back of the head, dizziness, drowsiness or anxiety, disorder of coordination, convulsions and coma.
If intoxication comes as a result of drinking water with a high content of nitrates, the first symptoms will appear within an hour. However, diarrhea is usually absent.
In practice, there are also cases of subacute nitrate poisoning. There are signs of a hypoxic state of tissues: shortness of breath, palpitations, fatigue, cyanosis of the skin.
Nitrate poisoning in children
Children can get poisoned if they accidentally use nitrogenous fertilizers, prepare milk mixtures on poor-quality water, when nitrates are found in complementary foods in vegetables, and in fruit juices.
When poisoning with nitrates in children, the symptoms more indicate damage to the circulatory and nervous system:
- blue lips and nails;
- reduced mobility;
- with severe hypoxia - lack of coordination, seizures.
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are less pronounced and may be absent. The clinical picture may be similar to toxic pneumonia.
What to do with nitrate poisoning? If there is no disturbance of consciousness, then vomiting must be induced. 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 the cessation of nausea, you can drink strong sweet tea with lemon. To speed up the elimination of nitrates from the body, you need to drink plenty of fluids!
When digestive disorders apply sparing diet: eliminate harmful foods, pay attention to cereals and stewed vegetables, low-fat boiled meat. Green tea, pickled cucumbers, sauerkraut, bread kvass help to recover from the disease. Alcohol - aggravates toxic effects.
In severe cases, with nitrate poisoning will need the help of a doctor. You should immediately call an ambulance if:
- there are signs of damage to the nervous system;
- vomiting and diarrhea do not stop;
- severe shortness of breath develops;
- decreases blood pressure, darkens in the eyes.
Treatment of nitrate poisoning
When nitrate poisoning treatment includes a set of measures to eliminate hypoxia, restore hemoglobin, accelerate the elimination of toxins from the body.
Solutions of methylene blue, ascorbic acid, glucose, sodium thiosulfate are administered intravenously. Assign oxygen therapy.
Also used drugs to support cardiac activity and restore tissue respiration: coenzyme A, cocarboxylase, B vitamins, insulin.
Chronic poisoning and long-term effects
The body is mainly 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 disturbances in all tissues. The growing tissues of the embryo are especially sensitive to the lack of oxygen - nitrates can have an embryotoxic and teratogenic effect on the fetus in the womb, although this property is proven only for domestic animals. Also in veterinary practice, the effect of nitrates on miscarriages in sows, sheep, cows and other animals was revealed.
In children, chronic hypoxia causes a lag in mental and physical development, increased nervous irritability, impaired functioning of the heart and blood vessels, and a decrease in immunity to infectious diseases.
How to avoid nitrate poisoning
A surge of poisoning occurs in the spring - the period of arrival on the shelves of the first greenhouse products, and in the middle of summer - the beginning of the ripening of melon crops. Prevention of nitrate poisoning is the use of high-quality food and drinking water.
- Watermelons buy in certified points of trade. Do not buy watermelons too early. The season for them comes at the end of August, so it is likely that early watermelons stimulated significant doses of nitrogen fertilizers. Also, you can not give watermelons to small children.
- The nitrate content in products is reduced during the heat treatment process. Therefore, the water must be boiled, and the potatoes, beets and carrots - cook.
- By soaking vegetables and herbs 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 the flesh under the rind, in parsley - in the stem, in cabbage - in the upper leaves.
- Fresh juices need to be consumed immediately, since during storage the nitrates become more toxic nitrites. Cooked beets or potatoes should not be allowed to cool for a long time - they can also form nitrites.
As a result of the incorrect use of nitrogen fertilizers, nitric acid compounds - nitrates can accumulate in the soil and water. They turn into vegetables and fruits and enter the human body. Nitrate poisoning develops, the symptoms and treatment of which are similar to nitrite and nitrosamine poisoning. The process of supplying tissues with oxygen due to the transfer of hemoglobin to an inactive compound - methemoglobin is impaired. Externally, this is manifested by cyanosis of the lips and nails, shortness of breath, dizziness, a drop in blood pressure, impaired cardiac activity, and headaches. Severe poisoning causes severe hypoxia (lack of oxygen), seizures, and who can be fatal. Especially sensitive to nitrates are children under the age of one year and people with chronic cardiovascular diseases.