All we want for our babies is good health and happiness. Unfortunately, this seemingly simple wish can seem improbable at times. Thanks to the chaotic life we lead today, our children live under a shadow all the time. There’s danger everywhere. So, what can we do to make sure our babies are safe? Knowledge is what you need to keep your family healthy and happy.
Take for example the case of lead poisoning. Lead poisoning may seem like a far-fetched idea. But the truth is that it is closer than you think.
Lead poisoning is not something that happens overnight. It can take months or even years. The worst part is that children are the biggest victims of lead poisoning.
What Causes Lead Poisoning In Babies?
Lead poisoning may take time to cause harm, but when it accumulates in the body in high doses, it can prove to be fatal. But where does all this lead come from? What causes lead poisoning? The factors that cause lead poisoning include:
1. Lead In Paint:
Lead paint is still in use in many countries. Even in the US, old homes contain walls and furniture painted with lead-based paints. If a baby or toddler eats some of these paint chips, they may end up with lead poisoning.
2. Water Pipes:
In many homes, old plumbing fixtures are still in use. These pipes can release lead into water.
3. Traditional Remedies:
Several traditional remedies are known to contain lead. Some traditional remedies to be wary of includes:
- Greta or Azarcon: This Hispanic remedy is commonly used to treat a number of digestive issues. It is also used to help teething babies.
- Litargirio: Extensively used in the Dominican Republic; this powder is used to kill body odor.
- Ba-baw-san: Colicky babies are hard to deal with. But when you use this traditional Chinese remedy, you may be doing more harm than good.
The soil in and around old houses can contain lead. This lead comes from leaded gasoline and paint cans.
Some toys manufactured outside of the US too can contain traces of lead.
Kohl is often used around the world as part of many women’s daily beauty regimen. In many cultures, it is also used on babies. But what most people don’t know is that many types of Kohl contain high levels of lead.
Symptoms Of Lead Poisoning in Babies And Toddlers:
Babies and toddlers are most vulnerable to lead poisoning. Here are some of the signs of lead poisoning in toddlers or babies to watch out for:
- Developmental delay and learning difficulties.
- Lack of appetite.
- Weight loss.
- Digestive issues like stomach pain, vomiting, and constipation.
- Hearing loss.
Diagnosis Of Lead Poisoning:
Not everyone with lead poisoning manifests the above symptoms. In fact, lead poisoning is tough detect in the beginning.
But the fact is that even if your child has as little as five micrograms per deciliter of lead in her blood, she’ll need medical attention (1).
If you or your doctor suspects lead poisoning, get your baby’s blood tested. Blood test may be the only method of confirming mild lead poisoning in the absence of any signs and symptoms (2).
This is especially true if you live in an area that is high risk for lead poisoning.
Treating Lead Poisoning In Children:
If you want to treat lead poisoning, you need to remove the source first. For most babies and toddlers with mild lead poisoning, this step is enough to ensure a reduction in blood lead levels. But in case your child has a severe case of this often-fatal condition, your doctor may prescribe the following treatment plans:
1. Chelation Therapy:
This therapy involves medication that binds with the lead in your child’s bloodstream and excreted through urine.
2. EDTA Therapy:
This is often used to treat adults but may be used to treat children too in some cases.
Can You Prevent Lead Poisoning:
Fortunately, protecting your baby from lead poisoning is not a difficult task. Just follow the tips given below:
1. Wash Hands And Toys:
This basic step never fails. You need to teach your child to wash her hands often. This not only prevents lead poisoning but a horde of other diseases as well. And keep your baby’s toys clean too.
2. Keep Your Home Dust Free:
Lead laden dust can play havoc with your child’s health. So make sure your house is dust free.
3. Let The Water Run:
Saving water is a wonderful idea. But if you have old plumbing, make sure to let the cold water run for a minute or so. Don’t use this water. Most of the lead in the fixtures will be washed out with this water. And never use hot tap water to mix your baby’s formula.
4. Eat Healthily:
A balanced diet can do wonders for your baby’s health. It is especially important if you live in a place that is high risk for lead poisoning. Make sure your baby is getting enough calcium and iron. These minerals lower the absorption of lead into the bloodstream (3).
5. Be Safe While Renovating Your Home:
If you are renovating your home and trying to rid it of old lead-based paint, keep the following points in mind:
- Do not remove old paint by sanding.
- Avoid using an open-flame torch to get rid of the old lead-laden paint.
- Use protective gear like gloves, scarf, and overalls while removing the paint. Also, make sure to change your clothes and take a bath once you are done.
6. Get Blood Test Done:
If you live in an area with a high concentration of lead, make sure to ask for a blood test. Many states in the US recommend testing toddlers between one and two years for lead poisoning. Check if your area has similar rules.
These simple tips can go a long way in preventing instances of lead poisoning. Don’t let something as preventable as lead poisoning turn into a life and death issue! That’s the least you can do for your little bundle of joy!
Do you make sure that your child’s toys are lead-free? Tell us in the comments section below!
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