Cobalt chloride; Cobalt oxide; Cobalt sulfate
If you or someone you know has been exposed to cobalt, the first step is to leave the area and get fresh air. If cobalt came in contact with the skin, wash the area thoroughly.
If possible, 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.
If you are brought to the emergency room, it is likely because you either swallowed a large amount of cobalt or because you are starting to feel sick from long-term exposure.
Treatment for skin contact: Since these rashes are rarely serious, very little will be done. The area may be washed and a skin cream may be prescribed.
Treatment for lung involvement: Breathing problems will be treated based on your symptoms. Breathing treatments and medications to treat swelling and inflammation in your lungs may be prescribed. X-rays may be taken.
Treatment for swallowed cobalt: The health care team will treat your symptoms and order some blood tests. In the rare cases where you have large levels of cobalt in your blood, hemodialysis is performed and medications (antidotes) to reverse the effects of the poison may be given.
Persons who become sick from being exposed to large amounts of cobalt on one single occasion usually recover and have no long-term complications.
The symptoms and problems associated with long-term cobalt poisoning are rarely reversible. Persons who have such poisoning will likely have to take medicine for the rest of their life to control the symptoms.
Goldfrank LR, ed. Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies. 8th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2006.
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