Lead Poisoning and First Aid Management

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Lead exposure is an environmental health hazard and it may lead to lead poisoning that induces different kinds of symptoms. In children, lead poisoning has a lasting consequence affecting the child’s normal physical and mental development. The National Institute of Environmental Health Services identified the long term effect of lead exposure to children which include impaired memory, slow reaction time, low IQ and short attention span. Lead is present in many sources where the public is exposed such as in lead pipes, house paints and leaded gasoline. Adults often suffer from brain damage to certain extent and may induce the occurrence of neurological symptoms. It can also affect vital organs in the body like the kidney and stomach.

The symptoms of lead poisoning

lead poisoning
body aches and weakness is common in lead poisoning

What makes lead poisoning often difficult to diagnose is that the symptoms that occur due to it can be mistaken to be caused by other medical conditions. It is typical to manifest the symptoms of headache, difficulty in breathing, joint and muscle pain, dizziness, lethargy, loss of appetite, excessive tiredness, metallic taste in the mouth, concentration difficulty, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and abdominal pain. Poisoning from lead often takes years before it manifest the symptoms and sometimes the person is no longer exposed to it by the time the symptoms occur. Taking the medical and work history of a patient will often reveal that many years back, their occupation or environment made them more susceptible to lead exposure. Children who are 6 years old and younger are more at risk to lead poisoning because they tend to put any object or their hands to their mouth. Their body also absorbs lead faster and it is during these tender years that the brain is still developing.

What to do to avoid lead poisoning

The best first aid management for lead poisoning is to eliminate the exposure to it. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests washing the hands frequently. You can also wash surfaces in order to remove lead from old paints. It is also recommended to use tap water instead of hot because the latter may contain more lead. Lead exposure is also possible with cosmetics with lead contents thus women should shun from using cosmetic products containing lead. If your work occupation makes you susceptible to lead exposure, make sure to wear protective clothes and wash your clothes immediately after work. If you suddenly feel dizzy or weak, make sure to take a rest and stop your activity. Lead poisoning can cause your system to break down and it is important to make an appointment with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

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