Arsenic poisoning: symptoms and signs in humans

What to do in cases of poisoning by arsenic

It is a mistake to assume that arsenic poisoning is impossible in the modern world. Toxic semimetal is still widely used in the manufacture of alloys and pharmaceuticals. Homeowners with it, destroy rats, mice, and garden pests. Disregard for the rules of storage and careless handling of chemical compounds of arsenic may lead to acute or chronic intoxications with serious consequences. To eliminate extremely dangerous symptoms, you need to enter the victim the antidote.

Why arsenic is deadly to humans

The 33rd element of the periodic system of Mendeleev is located on the border between the groups of metals and nonmetals, has a high conductivity of electric current. In nature, arsenic exists in organic and inorganic compounds, and the most dangerous to humans. Often, the semimetal is found near the regions of occurrence of tin ore as a microscopic cluster of brilliant granules.

In the middle ages often occurred poisoning when using pewter. Contained in the walls of pots of arsenic compounds when heated, disintegrated into its components. Getting into food toxic venom led to fatal toxicity.

Regardless of pathways in the human body, arsenic is quickly excreted from the blood serum and is associated with erythrocytes, which quickly spread it throughout the body. Noticed increased activity of the semimetal in relation to sulfhydryl groups of enzymes. Inhibiting their functional activity, organic arsenic compounds cause a failure of all systems of human activity.

How can a person poisoned with arsenic

Arsenic intoxication occurs when unsafe practices or violation of rules of storage, when the semimetal mistaken for something else. Still there are attempts suicides and murders using this poison. As a rule, investigators are not too difficult to solve a crime, scientists have invented a test sample for rapid detection of arsenic in blood and hair.

In addition to the intent to cause harm to himself or others, there is a possibility of poisoning in the following cases:

  1. The burning of garbage and waste in industrial production.
  2. When burning large amounts of coal.
  3. In the process of disposing of chemicals.
  4. In the leaching of arsenic groundwater from the ore.
  5. The use of herbicides, fungicides, and plant growth stimulants.

Fish and shellfish can accumulate in the tissues of the arsenic from the water. Should not eat the seafood, which is caught in the bays, near big industrial complexes.

The use of arsenic compounds for the destruction of the dental nerve can now be found very rarely. Dangerous semimetal securely hides temporary filling, preventing its penetration into the body. To prevent poisoning, you should follow the recommendations of the dentist during treatment and not to defer an appointment to the doctor.

Intoxication with arsenic is sometimes diagnosed among employees of enterprises using the semimetal at different stages of technological processes:

  • to improve the quality of the metals;
  • in the manufacture of conductors and semiconductors;
  • for the manufacture of fireworks;
  • upon receipt of chemical warfare agents;
  • for the manufacture of paints and painting of leather products.
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In some countries, microscopic doses of arsenic used in the treatment of diseases, one of the symptoms is anemia. Proven efficiency of the semimetal in the treatment of brittle bones. Moreover, the increase of bone mass occurs after stopping growth.

As arsenic enters the human body

For human risk of arsenic lies in its physical and chemical properties. An aqueous solution of arsenic has no taste, color and smell. In the middle ages, the couple can easily get rid of their halves, mixing poison in food and drink. Signs of arsenic poisoning in humans are similar to symptoms of the common cold, so a series of fatal intoxications accounted for the epidemiological season of viral diseases.

There are cases when the fine white powder of arsenic compounds were taken for food: flour, soda, starch. The semimetal is added to baking, or roll it meat products, fish, meat.

Once in the stomach, the arsenic is rapidly absorbed into the blood and penetrates into all organs. Even two weeks after poisoning the poison is detected by using biochemical tests in the nails, hair, teeth. More than 90% of toxic substances excreted from the human body via the urinary system, and the remainder in the feces.

Much less likely to be diagnosed following cases of intoxication:

  1. Through the respiratory tract. Poisoning occurs by inhalation of the poisonous dust or fumes of arsenic. In humans, there is damage to the mucous membranes, accompanied by cough, sneezing, watery eyes.
  2. Through the skin. In contact with the skin portion of the poison penetrates through all layers of the epidermis directly into the blood. At the point of contact with a toxic substance formed the rash and redness.

In a production environment often occurs mixed poisoning: poison penetrates directly through the mucous membranes and skin. Household intoxication occurs when ingestion of compounds of semimetal by negligence or intentionally.

Stage of poisoning with poisonous substance

After absorption of arsenic in the blood is negative for the human consequences appear after a few minutes. Prolonged accumulation of the poison cells and tissues poisoning develops gradually. Depending on the dose of the semimetal and the time of appearance of symptoms of intoxication klassificeret thus:

  • in the acute stage. Half an hour after getting the poison in the body disrupted the cardiovascular system, the respiratory depression develops renal failure. A person loses the ability to move, it is the reduced vision and hearing. At this stage of the poisoning victim must immediately enter the antidote, otherwise it may be fatal in a day;
  • chronic stage. With the gradual accumulation of arsenic by cells of the deformation of the tissues, internal organs are not sufficiently supplied with blood, is reduced or increased production of the biologically active substances endocrine glands. All the vital systems are exposed to the toxic effects of the semimetal.

Symptoms of chronic intoxication are manifested after a few months after the introduction of arsenic in the internal organs. But the person often withdraws suddenly falls ill to the cold, fatigue, recurrence of other diseases.

Several decades ago chronic stage diagnosed quite often. Dark bottles with arsenic could be found on the shelves of retsepturno-industrial departments of pharmacies. From his pharmacists used to prepare for destruction of causative agents of skin diseases. There were even tablets for the treatment of cancer.

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By the way, has long confirmed the carcinogenic property of arsenic. After cure them of anemia in patients later diagnosed malignant tumors of visceral organs and bones. In one Indian state has occurred the emission of compounds of semimetal in the local lake, where people took water for drinking and where they caught fish for food. A few years later and that most people, in addition to chronic poisoning, was diagnosed with cancer of varying severity.

Some modern folk healers recommend to treat malignant neoplasms of small doses of arsenic. The Council is harmful primarily because sick people to refuse medical and surgical treatment that can save their lives. Such «therapy» can lead to chronic intoxication with arsenic, dangerous to the weakened organism, a cancer patient.

Symptoms of poisoning

The probability of death is directly dependent on the ways of penetration of the venom and its quantity. Inhalation symptoms of arsenic poisoning appear rapidly and worsen by the minute. Sometimes even a quick introduction of antitoxin, is not able to save man from death.

In contact with chemical compounds of arsenic in the gastrointestinal tract the symptoms will be stronger if the stomach is empty. The presence of carbohydrate or fat food will reduce the degree of absorption of the poison the mucous membrane of the stomach, which will increase the chance of rescue.

After 30 minutes of penetration of the toxic substance at the victim having the following symptoms:

  1. Disorder of the gastrointestinal tract: nausea, persistent vomiting, diarrhea.
  2. Hyperthermia, chills, sweating.
  3. Thirst.
  4. Painful cramps in the abdomen and lower back.
  5. Headache, worse in bright light.

The paralytic form of poisoning is the occurrence of seizures upper and lower limbs, after which the victim falls into a coma. Characteristically for the acute stage of the poisoning:

  • happening the burns of the larynx. The mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract ulcerate deformed. The probability of bleeding into the inner cavity of the body;
  • quickens the heart rate. In the first moments of intoxication arises of hypertension, arrhythmia. Then the pressure is rapidly lowered to dangerous levels, the pulse is rare;
  • damaged large vessels and tiny capillaries;
  • disrupted breathing due to spasm of the larynx. Lung tissue cease to be supplied with molecular oxygen, there occurs swelling of the paired body;
  • changes the color of the skin. Arsenic compounds are associated with red blood cells, reducing their functional activity, then destroy. The top layer of the epidermis acquires a yellowish tint and the urine becomes dark brown;
  • renal tubules are destroyed, reduced functioning of the urinary system. Kidneys can not cope with filtration of urine, it appears the blood clots;
  • when hit poison on the skin occurs the burn is all layers of the epidermis, swelling, ulceration.

One of the symptoms of intoxication with arsenic is a thickening and overgrowth of the nail plate. It also appear whitish cross-bands, disappearing after the removal of the poison from the body.

In the initial stages of chronic arsenic poisoning the symptoms of low expressed and manifested a month later:

  1. Destroyed brain cells from insufficient oxygen supply: memory worsens, appears insomnia, reduced rate of reactions.
  2. Growing tremor of the extremities, people can’t stay on their feet due to weakness in the calf muscles.
  3. Destroyed heart muscle, occurs palpitations, tachycardia, bradycardia.
  4. Decreases the permeability of blood vessels: the skin appear small bruises, extensive bruises.
  5. Hair loss, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, the head.
  6. Growing, scaly and thickens the top layer of the epidermis.
  7. Relapse of viral and chronic diseases.
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The most dangerous symptom of chronic poisoning is the development of malignancies.

First aid in case of intoxication with arsenic

If the poisoning occurred in industrial operations, you should contact the medical facility for administration of an antidote. The faster will be carried out the injection procedure, the less venom will be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. If necessary, carry out resuscitation quick taps on the region of the heart.

Household poisoning it is necessary to call a brigade «first aid», and then to give the man first aid, which consists of the following steps:

  • Gastric lavage and induce vomiting, if victim is conscious. Dissolve a few crystals of potassium permanganate in one liter of water to drink and induce vomiting by pushing the handle of his spoon on the tongue.
  • The victim to drink bottled water as often as possible.
  • When hit poison on the skin thoroughly rinse the areas with damaged skin under running water.
  • To lay, to cover, to calm the man.
  • To give to drink the victim any adsorbent.

Cleansing enemas do not help intoxicated with arsenic as the poison molecules instantly bind to proteins of blood.

Particularly suffer from such poisoning small children and teenagers. It is extremely important to keep toxic herbicides and pesticides in a safe place under lock and key. If the house is always filled with arsenic, you should know the symptoms of intoxication, to be able to provide first aid.