Lead exposure can negatively impact a child’s health, including brain and nervous system damage, delayed development and growth, learning difficulties, behavioral concerns, and hearing and speech issues.
There is no known safe amount of lead exposure in children. The ability of a youngster to learn, pay attention, and perform well in school might be negatively impacted by even low blood lead levels.
The good news is that lead poisoning in children can be avoided. Read further to learn the cause of lead poisoning, prevention methods, and treatment procedures that healthcare provider opts for.
Sources of Lead Exposure
Old houses made before 1978 may have a coat of lead-based paints. Small fragments of lead paint can float and collect on different surfaces throughout your house. Children can pick them up and take them in their mouths or breathe them indirectly. Kids eat a meager amount of lead, but this can still harm them.
Home renovations can also cause lead poisoning in children. When you begin repairing, fixing, painting, or renovating your house, the lead paint particles can spread throughout the house. And if children are playing near renovation projects, they can easily get poisoned by it. Property restoration and renovations are the most common cause of lead poisoning in kids.
Playground or Backyard
Any tool, equipment, and structure built before 1978 can have a coat of lead paint. This includes sheds, fences, playground equipment, and barns. So, when the paint breaks down, it contaminates the surfaces near it, like soil or floor.
This paint can get on the hands of children playing in the backyard or playing area that leads to their mouths. Also, if plants grow in contaminated soil, the vegetables that grow in them will contain lead.
Many imported low-quality toys have lead paint coating. Chewing, touching, or sucking the toys can easily poison a kid. Besides that, old toys have more risk of lead composition that is very dangerous for your little one.
Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
It’s hard to detect lead poisoning in the beginning. Symptoms of lead poisoning only occur when a child is exposed to dangerous amounts of lead. Here are some signs of lead exposure that you can look for.
- Learning difficulties
- Development delays
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue and sluggishness
- Weight loss
- Hearing loss
- Abdominal pain
- Eating things that are not food, such as paint chips
- Hyperactivity (fidgeting, restlessness, and talking too much)
Effects of Lead Poisoning on Children
Lead can affect every organ and system of your children’s body. Some of the common effects of lead poisoning are:
- Lowered IQ
- Behavioral problems
- Learning difficulties
- Growth delay
- Hearing problems
Besides these problems, high lead levels can result in coma and seizures. In rare instances, if your child’s immune system is compromised or they are weak, it can also be fatal.
Prevent Lead Poisoning in Children
If you live on a property built in the 18th century, there is a high chance that there will be traits of lead in the property. In this case, it’s best to take some precautions to save your child from severe health conditions.
Keep Your House Clean
The simplest and easiest way to protect your children is to control dust in your house. Wipe your house regularly with a wet rag or sponge. Try to clean areas daily where friction can create dust from paint coats, like windows, drawers, and doors.
Prevent Lead Entering Your House
Lead can also come to your house from outside through your shoes. It’s best to take them off on the door to avoid spreading lead in your house.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Providing a nutritious diet to kids is an ideal way to prevent health issues. Healthy children tend to have stronger immunity that helps them fight contaminants, germs, viruses, and other elements. Hence, a healthy diet will prevent lead-related health issues, even if kids accidentally breathe in the lead.
Teach Your Child to Wash Hands
Teaching your child to wash their hands before they eat something is essential. This can help prevent them from consuming. Also, ask them to wash their hands after playing outside the house. Creating the habit of frequently cleaning hands can go a long way.
Wash Bottles, Pacifiers, and Toys Regularly
Regularly wash or clean everything that can go in your child’s mouth. Also, keep your kids’ things away from places where there is a risk of lead presence.
Routine Lead Tests
If your house is old and has had a coat of lead paint, routine lead tests can help you determine whether your child is exposed to lead paint or not at a very early stage. Children aged 5 or under can undergo these tests. Note that there are no symptoms at the beginning of the lead exposure. So, don’t wait for symptoms and go for the tests.
Is Lead Poisoning Curable in Children?
The effects of lead poisoning are not reversible. However, doctors can help you reduce blood lead levels. You can also figure out the cause of lead exposure and take precautions to prevent further exposure to lead.
If a child’s lead levels are high, health experts might recommend treating your little one with medications like the Chelating agent. This type of medicine binds the particles of lead in the body, allowing the body to throw them out from the body as toxins.
Depending on your child’s condition, the doctor might suggest whole-bowel irrigation. The specialist will administer a particular solution to your child orally as part of this therapy procedure to remove the obstruction from their stomach and intestines. Doctors opt for whole-bowel irrigation when they find lead in your child’s belly. This helps them prevent further absorption of lead.
In a nutshell, lead poisoning in children can occur in your house. It can be deadly for your little one. Therefore, practicing preventive measures is vital to protect your children from lead exposure. For this, you can regularly clean your house and teach your child some hygiene habits.