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Mercury toxicity



Mercury in any form is poisonous. Poisoning can result from mercury vapour inhalation, mercury injection and absorption of mercury through the skin

Risk Factors

Signs and symptoms

Diagnostic criteria

Inorganic Mercury:

• Ash-gray mucous membrane
• Haematochesia
• Severe abdominal pain
• Foul breath
• Hypovolaemic shock
• Metallic taste
• Stomatitis
• Gingival irritation loosening of teeth
• Renal tubular necrosis

Organic Mercury:

• Scotomata
• Visual field constriction
• Ataxia
• Paresthesias (early signs)
• Hearing loss
• Dysarthria
• Mental deterioration
• Muscle tremor
• Movement disorders
• Paralysis
• Death (with severe exposure)


• Blood and Urine Mercury levels
• Hair, Toenail, and CSF mercury level for chronic exposure
• Plain X-ray of the abdomen


  • Non-pharmacological

    • Remove from the exposure
    • Airway Breathing and Circulation (ABC)
    • Give oxygen
    • Copious irrigation of the skin if skin involvement
    • Do gastric lavage if ingested mercury and observed in the abdominal radiographs
    • Do Hemodialysis when renal function has declined.

    Surgical intervention: To remove mercury that has been logged in the intestine or colon
  • Pharmacological

    • Activated Charcoal as in ingested poisons
    • 2,3-dimercapto succinic acid (DMSA or succimer) 10 mg/kg PO 8 hourly for 5 days; follow by 10 mg/kg/dose 12hr for 14 days; not to exceed 500 mg/dose

    In acute inorganic mercury poisoning:

    Give dimercaprol:

    • Day 1: 5mg/kg deep IM once for 1 day
    • Day 2–11: 2.5mg deep IM 12 hourly for 10 days


Educate the patient on Dos and Don’ts of poisoning prevention.


• Keep medicines and poison in proper containers and out of reach of children
• Use containers with child resistant caps
• Keep all products in their original container
• Read medicine labels carefully to avoid mistake


• Leave container open
• Transfer products from their origin
• Remove labels from the medicine products
• Put tablets into another containers such as purse or envelope
• Medicine/tablets as sweet
• Take your medicine in front of children as they often copy

Updated on,

14 Novemba 2020 15:00:25


    1. STG
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