Is it poisonous to swallow mercury in a thermometer? In fact, what's more terrifying than misunderstanding is not doing it right

time:2023-02-07 author:Baby bones
Is it poisonous to swallow mercury in a thermometer? In fact, what's more terrifying than misunderstanding is not doing it right

During the epidemic, a thermometer is a must for every family, no matter if you have a baby or not. Most households use a more traditional mercury thermometer, which is made of glass on the outside and contains mercury. A few days ago, a user said that a child of about 1 year old from a relative's house came to play, and he didn't know when he put the mercury thermometer on the table as a toy in his mouth, and he didn't know how long it lasted. I heard that there is mercury in this water thermometer, will it be harmful to children? In fact, the notice issued by the State Food and Drug Administration clearly pointed out that from January 1, 2026, the production of mercury-containing thermometers and mercury-containing sphygmomanometers will be prohibited. This is because mercury is toxic, may harm human health, and cause environmental pollution.

Can a child be poisoned by accidentally swallowing mercury in a thermometer?

It depends. If it is a child like the user's relatives, who just put the mercury thermometer in his mouth, the thermometer is not broken, and there is not much harm. But be aware that once the thermometer is inserted into the child's throat, it is very dangerous. Therefore, if you have children at home, you must pack such things. If the child accidentally bites the mercury thermometer and swallows the mercury inside, it will also score whether it will be poisoned. If the child's gastrointestinal tract is healthy, the child will not be poisoned if swallowed by mistake. Because mercury in the process of production and use, generally enter the human body through the respiratory tract in the form of steam, causing harm. The gastrointestinal absorption rate of mercury is only 1/10,000, and the mercury content in the mercury thermometer is very small, so if the child accidentally swallows it, it will not cause much impact. However, if the child's gastrointestinal tract itself is unhealthy and the mucous membrane is damaged, it is still possible to be poisoned by mistakenly swallowing mercury. At this time, you should eat more crude fiber foods (celery, leeks, etc.) to promote gastrointestinal motility and promote the excretion of mercury from the body as soon as possible. You can also adjust the body position according to the mercury accumulation site shown on the film with the guidance of the doctor, so that the mercury can be excreted from the intestines. Generally speaking, eating a small amount of mercury by mistake will not cause poisoning, but without inspection, no one knows the specific results. Therefore, in the event of such an accident, it is still necessary to seek medical attention in time and follow the doctor's arrangement.

What should I do with a broken mercury thermometer?

The outer packaging of the mercury thermometer is glass, which is fragile. Once broken, not only can it cause mercury poisoning, but it can also harm children. If it is found that the child has bitten the mercury thermometer, it is necessary to check and clean up the glass fragments in the child's mouth as soon as possible to prevent the child from swallowing the glass fragments into the body or damaging the oral mucosa. For children, the dangers of swallowing glass pieces are even more serious. Then let the child rinse his mouth, and then go to the hospital as soon as possible to have a doctor check. Mercury vapor is toxic, and mercury can evaporate at room temperature. Therefore, after the thermometer is broken, leave the room in time, open the window for ventilation, and speed up the evaporation of mercury. In addition, it is also necessary to check every corner of the room and collect the scattered mercury as soon as possible to prevent the scattered mercury from evaporating and producing mercury vapor. When collecting, you can wear gloves and masks, use waterproof paper and tape to put the mercury beads in a sealed bottle, and treat them as hazardous waste or hand them over to professional departments for disposal. There may be residual mercury on the ground. At this time, sprinkle some sulfur powder. The residual mercury and sulfur powder will have a chemical reaction to generate mercury sulfide compounds that are not conducive to volatilization, so as to avoid poisoning. The mercury content of the mercury thermometer is very small. After the above treatment, it usually spreads cleanly after two or three days. When dealing with spilled mercury, you need to pay attention:
  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner, because a vacuum cleaner will blow mercury into the indoor air, speeding up evaporation and increasing the probability of inhaling mercury vapor.
  • Don't walk around in contaminated shoes, and don't sweep with a broom, as this will expand the contamination.
  • Contaminated clothes and shoes should be wrapped in plastic bags and disposed of as hazardous waste.

When is a mercury thermometer likely to cause mercury poisoning?

Mercury, also known as mercury, is toxic, easy to evaporate, silver-white liquid metal, and the only metal that is liquid at room temperature. Mercury poisoning may manifest as fever, headache, dizziness, tremors, etc., and may also manifest as gastroenteritis, gingivitis or acute bronchitis. In severe cases, interstitial pneumonia or even renal failure or toxic encephalopathy may occur. Mercury poisoning is very harmful to people, and it is even more harmful to children. Many children's mercury poisoning is caused by improper handling of mercury thermometers after they are broken. Improper handling of mercury may be toxic if swallowed. The high density of mercury makes gastric lavage difficult to wash out, and the process of gastric lavage and vomiting may damage the gastric mucosa. Mercury enters the bloodstream through the injured gastrointestinal mucosa, causing poisoning. Cleaning up broken mercury thermometers can also lead to mercury poisoning if you don't pay attention to the skin being scratched by glass fragments and then contact the scattered mercury. Broken mercury thermometers that are not cleaned in time may be poisoned. There is a report that: a broken mercury thermometer, the evaporation of mercury will make a room with a height of 3 meters and a room of 15 square meters in air mercury concentration as high as 22.2mg/m3, much higher than the maximum concentration of 0.01mg/m3 stipulated by the state. Meter. People will be poisoned in such an environment for a long time. After all, safety is the most important thing for children. Mercury thermometers have a long history, but there are safety hazards. For the health and safety of children, we should give up their use and choose safer ear thermometers, forehead thermometers and electronic thermometers.
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