Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: lina2-ga
List Price: $3.00
30 Mar 2004 08:16 PST
Expires: 29 Apr 2004 09:16 PDT
Question ID: 322390
How can mercury be removed from a person after they have ingested it?
Re: mercury poisoning
Answered By: blazius-ga on 30 Mar 2004 09:16 PST
The proper first aid for a person who has eaten metallic mercury or a mercuric compund would be to make the person vomit. This can be done by triggering the emesis reflex (e.g. by sticking a finger into the person's throat) or by giving a drug that makes the person throw up. A gastric lavage (removing the gut contents with a suction tube) can also be useful, but this must be done by a doctor. Activated charcoal, milk or raw egg whites should be given orally to avoid absorption of mercuric compunds from the intestines. The patient should also recieve treatment with an approperiate chelating agent such as DMPS (the sodium salt of 2,3-dimercapto-1-propane sulfonic acid). A chelating agent is a chemical compound that is able to bind heavy metal salts. The treatment usually lasts for around three weeks. Another chelating substance known as dimercaprol (or BAL) have been used to treat mercury poisoning, but this practice is now discouraged. BAL may actually enhance passage of organic mercury compounds across the blood-brain barrier. Sources of information: The Merck Manual, http://www.merck.com/mrkshared/mmanual/tables/307tb3n.jsp Felleskatalogen [the Norwegian Drug Manual], 2003 edition
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