Mercury is a heavy metal present all over the world in a variety of forms. Traces of this element have even been found in the air. The most significant deposits of mercury are present in a form of mercuric sulfide (cinnabar). This metal is basically in a liquid form. However as a part of different chemical compounds it can even be in a solid form or as a vapor or a gas.
Mercury has long been confirmed to be good at treating certain illnesses. However the truth is that it can cause severe health damage if some of his forms have been ingested or inhaled. Toxicity of certain chemical compounds is drastic and emergency application of antidotes must be conducted. Sometimes even non toxic compounds may cause damage if they get into the body in increased doses. So the duration of exposure, the form of mercury as well as the dosage determine the consequent damage.
People who are suffering from respiratory and kidney diseases as well as unborn babies are more prone to mercury poisoning than others. The most serious harm due to mercury poisoning is evident in nervous system. Things, devices and simple gadgets people use on daily bases can contain this poisonous substance. This exposure increases the risk of poisoning. Still majority of people are aware of the threat and take care of themselves.
Every assumption of the poisoning has to be taken seriously. Consulting a medical toxin expert is essential and first thing one should do. In case of major accidents the action of city or national toxin control personnel must be quick in order to confine further distribution of toxic substance.
One should be removed from the place of the poisoning. This way further contact with mercury is stopped. All the clothes ought to be removed and the casualty needs to be cleaned. In case of acute inhalation of mercury chemical compounds one may need to be intubated. In case that caustic form of mercury has been ingested one should not be treated with medications which induce vomiting as this may only make the situation worse. In case of poisoning with inorganic forms patient is given activated charcoal. After being given the charcoal the patient is subjected to gastric lavage. In case of diarrhea intravenous fluids are administered.
Chronic exposure does not lead to prompt symptoms and the state is not so urgent. However the source of the posioning has to be identified and person must avoid further contact with the source.
In case of indigestion of the mercury from the thermometers one will suffer no consequences unless his/ her gastrointestinal tract is damaged by another illness such as ulcerative colitis or fistulas.
In the following therapeutic stages the casualty is given chelating agents such as dimercaprol. Antidote is always efficient if there is one. The compounds of the toxic mercury and dimercaprol are then eliminated from the body by dialysis. This antidote is not given only if a person has been poisoned with methyl-mercury.