How Does Lead Poisoning Happen in Children?
As a parent, you’re right to be concerned about lead poisoning with your child. It’s not as common as it once was, but it can still happen, so take some time to learn about it. So how does lead poisoning happen in children? Read on to learn all about this and how you can prevent lead poisoning.
How does lead poisoning happen?
It happens when too much lead gets into the body through the skin or from drinking, eating, or breathing. Unborn babies, babies, infants, and young children (aged 6 months to 3 years) are most at risk for complications from lead poisoning. This is because these age groups absorb lead more easily than older kids and adults, and lead is generally more harmful to them. Children who immigrate from a foreign country that doesn’t have regulations for lead use may be at a higher risk. Also, kids with pica are at high risk.
When lead gets into the body, it can travel in the body and cause harm where it ends up. This harm may affect the production of blood cells and the absorption of calcium in the body. High levels of lead can actually cause kidney damage or even brain damage.
How can kids get lead poisoning?
Until the late 1970s, lead-based paint was commonly used in the U.S. Exposure to this paint is the most common way for kids to get lead poisoning. In the late 1970s and today, the manufacturing of this paint is banned, but it still covers many walls in many homes.
It’s also possible for a child to come into contact with lead in:
- Soil found by busy streets and around homes that were painted with lead-based paint
- Water flowing through old lead pipes or old faucets
- Food that was stored in bowls glazed or painted in lead, or in cans with lead
- Certain home remedies that are used to treat upset stomach, like greta and azarcon
- Some toys, sports objects, hobby objects, or jewelry, like stained glass, ink, paint, etc.
How can lead poisoning be prevented?
You can do a lot to prevent lead poisoning in your child. Start by making sure your home is lead-free. This is easier than you may think; you can ask your local health department about having your home checked for sources of lead. Old plumbing should be checked, so be sure to inquire about this. You can also ask a doctor about having your child checked for lead exposure.
There may be other ways of protecting your child. Your city and your particular community may be higher risk areas. Ask your local health department and a doctor about protecting yourself and your children. One of our doctors here at Olivero Pediatrics would be happy to answer your questions!
How is lead poisoning typically treated?
This depends on how much lead is in the blood of the patient. A small amount of lead in a child can be treated easily, but a larger amount may require treatment at the hospital. If you suspect your child has lead poisoning or may have it, come see us at our clinic. Symptoms of lead poisoning can include headaches, behavioral problems, difficulty concentrating, appetite loss, weight loss, constipation, nausea, vomiting, a metallic taste in the mouth, tiredness, muscle/joint weakness, and looking pale.
To learn more about preventing lead poisoning or to have your child tested or treated for it, connect with us at Olivero Pediatrics. We can provide all the advice, tests, and treatments your child will need so long as the situation is non-life-threatening. Our clinic is located at 1243 Skytop Mountain Rd. Suite 4, Port Matilda, PA 16870, and you can contact us at (814) 256-4466. You’re also welcome to set up a consultation or appointment with us.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for the advice and other services of the professionals here at Olivero Pediatrics!