Did you know that if you work with lead you could be bringing this toxic metal into your home through your clothes, shoes, hair and hands? Often times people associate lead poisoning with children chewing on old toys or crib railings. Little do they know there are several other ways to expose children and adults to this harmful metal.
Lead can accumulate in the body if it enter the mouth or is inhaled. It can also enter through splits in the skin or through mucous membranes. If a person is exposed to a certain level of lead, it can begin to damage all of the body systems including the heart, bones, kidneys, teeth, intestines, reproductive organs, and the nervous and immune systems. Young children are particularly sensitive to lead poisoning ;causing irreversible damage to mental and physical development.
According to Medical News Today, around half a million children in the US between the ages of 1 and 5 are believed to have lead levels in their blood that put them at risk of lead poisoning. Symptoms of lead poisoning in children are nausea, dizziness, jaundice, black diarrhea, lethargy, reduced brain volume, and a strange taste in the mouth. High levels of lead in adults and children can cause damage to kidneys and central nervous system, eventually leading to seizures, coma and even death.
Is there a way to prevent lead poisoning? Yes! If you work around lead, wash your hands often and shower at the end of your shift. Change your clothes before leaving the workplace, and do not take lead contaminated clothes into your home.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is cracking down on infants and toddlers being tested for lead poisoning. At Okeene Municipal Hospital and Medical Clinic, it is highly recommended that eery child be tested TWICE before the age of 2. The lab technicians will extract a capillary specimen (Finger prick) to test the child's blood. This is a quick and easy test that is returned in 3-4 days. If the lead levels are at an elevated level, the test will have to be repeated with a venous blood sample.
To have your child tested for lead poisoning, make an appointment with the Okeene Medical Clinic at 580-822-4404.