How is zinc poisoning treated?

As zinc poisoning is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition, it is vitally important to seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms you believe may be associated with zinc poisoning. Call the American Association of Poison Control Centers (1-800-222-1222) if you or someone you are with has been exposed to zinc and shows signs of poisoning. It is helpful to be able to identify the source of the zinc, whether through exposure or ingestion, as well as the estimated time and level of exposure. Treatment will focus on stabilizing the patient, supporting breathing and circulation, and may also involve measures to remove the zinc from the body.

What are the potential complications of zinc poisoning?

Failure to seek immediate treatment for suspected zinc poisoning can result in serious or even life-threatening potential complications. If treated immediately, you are much more likely to make a full recovery from zinc poisoning, particularly if symptoms are mild and exposure to the toxin was low. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by seeking immediate medical attention and following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of zinc poisoning include:

  • Brain damage
  • Organ failure
  • Shock
  • Unconsciousness and coma

References:

  1. Zinc. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/HerbsVi....Zinc poisoning. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002570.htm.
  2. Bope ET, Kellerman RD (Eds.) Conn’s Current Therapy. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2013.
  3. Tierney LM Jr., Saint S, Whooley MA (Eds.) Current Essentials of Medicine (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.
  4. King JC, Klein CL. Zinc. In: Modern nutrition in health and disease, Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M, et al. Lippincott, Philadelphia 2000. p.223.

INTRODUCTION

What is zinc poisoning?

Zinc is an important mineral required for a number of functions involving energy and metabolism. It is critical in supporting the immune system, which protects us from pathogens, infections, and disease. Zinc also plays a role in carbohydrate breakdown (process that supplies energy), as well as in cell growth, division and reproduction.

Zinc is also a metal with many common indus... Read more about zinc poisoningintroduction

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of zinc poisoning?

Symptoms of zinc poisoning can be very serious and warrant immediate medical attention. These symptoms tend to be generalized (involving your entire body) and can make you feel very sick.

Common symptoms of zinc poisoning

Common symptoms of zinc poisoning include:

CAUSES

What causes zinc poisoning?

Zinc poisoning occurs when there are toxic levels of zinc in the body. Zinc is commonly found in paints, metals, cleaners, solvents, and other construction materials. Other common materials and products containing zinc include rubber, varnish, dyes, and rust-proofing agents. You can also develop zinc poisoning through overconsumption of zinc supplements.

What are the risk fact... Read more about zinc poisoningcauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: May 7, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Allergies and the Immune System