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LEAD POISONING. (Plumbism-Saturnism). Causes

Category: Intoxicants and Sun Strokes

It is common in lead
smelters and grinders, painters, glaziers, and plumbers, whose hands are
not washed before eating. The lead is absorbed by the mouth, skin and
lungs. It may be taken into the system by drinking water, cider, etc., in
new lead pipes, or from hair-dyes or cosmetics containing lead.

Symptoms of Acute Case. These develop rapidly from continued exposure.
There is rapidly progressing anemia, with acute neuritis, epilepsy,
convulsions or delirium or with severe stomach and bowel symptoms.

Chronic Cases. Symptoms. 1. Anemia, lead line on the gums, paralysis,
colic, and brain symptoms.

2. Blue-black line of lead in the gums near the teeth.

3. This is preceded by an obstinate constipation. It resembles severe
intestinal colic. There may be vomiting.

4. Paralysis. This is the result of peripheral neuritis, localized or
generalized. Wrist drop and many other symptoms of local and general

TREATMENT. Prevention. The hands and finger nails of the lead workers
should always be thoroughly cleaned before eating. Use respirators if lead
is present in the form of dust.

For chronic poisoning remove the cause. Potassium iodide, five to ten
grains three times a day. Not to be given in acute cases or when the
symptoms are very severe, until what is in the bowels is removed.

Constipation. For this give a half ounce of epsom salts before breakfast
when needed, or repeat in small doses.

For pain. Heat over the abdomen and give morphine, if necessary.

Next: FOOD POISONING. (Bromototoxismus)

Previous: CHLORAL HABIT. Symptoms

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