What to Expect if you get poisoned by Mercury
WHAT TO EXPECT IF YOU ARE POISONED BY MERCURY
The health care provider will measure and monitor the patients vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.
Inhaling elemental mercury poisoning is difficult to treat. The patient should receive:
- Humidified oxygen or air
- Breathing tube into the lungs
- Suctioning mercury out of the lungs
- Medication to remove mercury and heavy metals from the body
For inorganic mercury poisoning, treatment usually begins with your support. The patient should receive:
- Fluids by IV (into a vein)
- Medicines to treat symptoms
- Activated charcoal, a medicine that soaks up many substances from the stomach
- Medicines called chelators to remove mercury from the blood
Receiving Treatment for organic mercury consists of medicines called chelators to remove mercury from the blood and away from the brain and kidneys. Often, these medications will have to be used for weeks to months.
If you feel you have been poisoned it is important to receive the correct information necessary to get treatment right away.
BEFORE CALLING EMERGENCY
Determine the following information:
- Patents age, weight, and condition (for example, is the person awake or alert?)
- Name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
- Time it was swallowed, inhaled, or touched
- Amount swallowed, inhaled, or touched
DO NOT delay calling for help if this information is not immediately available.
In the United States, please call 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a local poison control center. This hotline will let you speak with experts in poisoning and will give you further instructions.
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This is a free and confidential service. Please call if you have any questions about mercury poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency we are here to help
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Breathing in small amounts of elemental mercury will cause very few, if any, long-term side effects. However, larger amounts will ensure a long hospital stay. Permanent lung and brain damage is emanate. Very large exposures will cause death.
A large overdose of inorganic mercury may cause massive blood and fluid loss, kidney failure, and death.
Chronic brain damage from organic mercury is difficult to treat. Although some people never recover, limited success has been described in patients treated with chelation.
Young-Jin S. Mercury. In: Goldfrank LR, Flomenbaum NE, Lewin NA, et al, eds. Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies . 8th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill;
Bird TD. Dementia. In: Fauci AS, Harrison TR, eds. Harrison 's Principles of Internal Medicine . 17th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2008:chap 365.
Baum CR. Mercury: Heavy metals and inorganic agents. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose . 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 71.