Symptoms of mercury poisoning from a thermometer
Mercury refers to heavy metals. Its compounds in the form of salts and oxides are used in production, it is part of some paints and preparations for disinfection. And the salts of this metal are more toxic than oxides.
Houses with mercury can be encountered in the event of damage to thermometers, energy-saving light bulbs. From one broken light bulb, metal poisoning is unlikely. If the bulbs are damaged periodically, then chronic poisoning is possible. At school in physics and chemistry classes, they react with mercury, so there are also cases of poisoning when the safety of working with chemicals is disrupted.
Input routes for mercury
Mercury vapor poisoning can occur through the skin. In this case, intoxication develops slowly.
The situation is more dangerous when metal particles get on the mucous membranes or when it is swallowed. In this case, the liver suffers a toxic shock.
The most severe variant of poisoning occurs after inhaling the vapors or directly when ingested, since the liver is practically not involved in their neutralization.
Toxic dose of mercury
Most often a person comes into contact with mercury when the thermometer is broken. Can I get poisoned when the thermometer broke?
"The thermometer contains about two grams of mercury. The ingestion of half of this dose into the human body is fatal.
Much depends on the age, sex, body weight of a person in contact with a dangerous poison. Also, the size of the room in which the release of mercury occurred is also important.
These factors affect the severity of poisoning. The likelihood of mercury poisoning from the thermometer, if not taken, is close to 100%, since its average toxic dose is only 0.4 mg.
What to do if the thermometer broke? This will be discussed below.
Symptoms of mercury vapor poisoning
Poisoning can be acute, for example, by inhaling vapors, subacute and chronically, when a small amount of mercury enters the body, but for a long time.
Acute current is rare and, possibly, in an industrial accident where mercury is applied, and in other similar cases. More often there is a chronic poisoning with mercury from a thermometer, the symptoms of which develop gradually.
Common symptoms of mercury vapor poisoning are:
- From the side of the nervous system, the appearance of asthenic syndrome (fatigue, weakness, headache, irritability, drowsiness, memory loss) is characteristic. Characteristic mercury tremor (trembling) of the fingers, tongue, and sometimes the entire body, perhaps, the development of seizures. In addition, there is an increase in body temperature, blood pressure may decrease, there is increased sweating. With acute poisoning, inhibition is possible with subsequent loss of consciousness and development of coma.
- The digestive system also suffers. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, metallic taste in the mouth are observed. As a result of damage to the mucous membrane, mercury develops gingivitis, stomatitis, which is manifested by pain, bleeding gums, increased salivation. When ulcers appear in the esophagus, stomach, intestine, there are pains in the abdomen, possibly, development of bleeding. Specific symptoms of mercury poisoning from the thermometer are: the appearance of a bright red gingival color, then after a while a dark raid appears on them.
- Signs of mercury poisoning with a broken thermometer appear also on the part of the respiratory system. Characteristic development of acute specific non-infectious bronchitis, pneumonia. With significant damage to the respiratory tract, hemoptysis may develop. In severe poisoning, pulmonary edema is not excluded.
- How does mercury poisoning manifest itself in chronic intoxication? This metal can accumulate in the parenchymal organs (liver and kidneys). Therefore, the symptoms of renal and hepatic insufficiency often occur with prolonged exposure to poison. In this case, their gradual development is characteristic. In acute poisoning, there is a high risk of acute renal and hepatic insufficiency, which is a direct threat to life.
It is important to understand that in each case the set of symptoms is individual and depends on many factors. Classical manifestations of poisoning are one thing, and the cases in practice are quite different.
How to determine mercury poisoning? Symptoms are mostly nonspecific and occur when other heavy metals are poisoned, as well as inflammatory diseases of various organs that also suffer from intoxication with mercury. A clear testimony gives a blood test for the concentration of a toxic substance that is detected by poisoning from 180 μg / l and higher.
Symptoms of mercury poisoning during pregnancy
Mercury poisoning during pregnancy is a rare phenomenon, but it is occurring.
Symptoms will be observed the same as not in pregnant women. Danger of intoxication by the threat of fetal death.
What to do in case of mercury poisoning
- If you know for sure that the cause of intoxication was mercury, you must go to fresh air or otherwise retire from the source of poisoning.
- First aid for mercury poisoning begins with washing the mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth, nose and exposed skin with running water or a weak solution of potassium permanganate in the absence of disturbance of respiratory and cardiovascular activity. If there are any, then at first, as far as it is possible, they eliminate life-threatening conditions by carrying out cardiopulmonary resuscitation, arresting or at least slowing down bleeding and so on.
- Rinsing of the stomach dissolved in cold water with potassium permanganate only through the probe. Thus, it is possible to reduce the cauterizing effect of mercury. Rinsing is done several times a day. After the procedure sorbents are additionally assigned 4 times a day.
- Introduction of the antidote "Unitiol" intravenously-drip.
- Further, the administration of solutions and diuretics for the purging of venom from the blood, as well as Uniothiol, is intramuscular. For the same purpose, hemodialysis is also used, if necessary.
- Symptomatic treatment in the development of ulcerative lesions of various organs.
What to do if the thermometer broke
Compliance with safety procedures when working with mercury in the workplace, as well as passing regular medical examinations for the timely detection of intoxication with heavy metal reduces the risk of getting sick. At home, preventive measures consist in replacing all mercury thermometers with electronic ones and taking care with energy-saving lamps.
What if the thermometer broke?
- Take it responsibly and without panic.
- Bring everyone out of the room.
- Close the door and open the windows.
- To collect mercury it is impossible for children under 18 years old, pregnant women and people with serious chronic diseases.
- Isolate mercury in rubber gloves in a glass-tight container. To protect yourself from inhaling poisonous fumes put on a cotton-gauze or medical mask. Shoe covers should be on the feet.
- Mercury to collect sheets of paper and with the help of a patch - gluing small balls sticky tape surface.
- All that had contact with mercury was placed in a plastic bag.
- Call the MOE or find out their number, where to go to clean the room and recycle the collected metal.
The most favorable outcome is acute poisoning of mild severity. The greatest damage to organs occurs with prolonged intoxication. In this case, the consequences of mercury poisoning from the thermometer will be the formation of severe chronic diseases of the affected organs, not to mention the fatal outcome. Timely recourse to medical care will reduce these consequences to a minimum.