Determine the following information:
However, DO NOT delay calling for help if this information is not immediately available.
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.
Inhaled elemental mercury poisoning may be difficult to treat. The patient may receive:
For inorganic mercury poisoning, treatment usually begins with supportive care. The patient may receive:
Treatment of organic mercury usually consists of medicines called chelators to remove mercury from the blood and away from the brain and kidneys. Often, these medications will have to be used for weeks to months.
Breathing in a small amount of elemental mercury will cause very few, if any, long-term side effects. However, larger amounts will lead to a long hospital stay. Permanent lung damage is likely. There may be some brain damage. Very large exposures will likely cause death.
A large overdose of inorganic mercury may cause massive blood and fluid loss, kidney failure, and likely death.
Chronic brain damage from organic mercury is difficult to treat. Although some people never recover, some success has been described in patients treated with chelation.
Young-Jin S. Mercury. In: Goldfrank LR, Flomenbaum NE, Lewin NA, et al, eds. Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies. 8th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2006:chap 96.
Bird TD. Dementia. In: Fauci AS, Harrison TR, eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2008:chap 365.
Baum CR. Mercury: Heavy metals and inorganic agents. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 71.
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