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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Is ER consultation required if a child has swallowed mercury from a thermometer?

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Dr. Pradeep Kumar

Pediatrician, Cardiology

Practicing since :2006

Answered : 1909 Questions

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Posted on Wed, 5 Sep 2018 in Child Health
Question: Day before yesterday My 6 years old son swallowed mercury from broken thermometer. What to do now is it dangerous.
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Answered by Dr. Pradeep Kumar 37 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Consult your paediatrician.

Detailed Answer:

Hi,

A thermometer contains a very small amount of liquid metallic Mercury.

Because of very poor absorption of Mercury through skin or intestine chances of toxic side effects are very less unless it is consumed in large quantities.

Most of the time there can be no symptoms after ingestion of small amount of elemental metallic Mercury. Mercury is poisonous mainly by inhalational route.

Symptoms can be irritability, vomiting, abnormal movement of the body, nervousness, cough, breathlessness or blood mixed vomits.

I won't get worried if the baby has not developed any symptoms yet. But to be on safer side I would suggest you consult your paediatrician.

If taken in large quantities, it can be visible in abdominal X-ray.

Hope I have answered your query.

Take care

Dr Pradeep Kumar
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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