Mercuric chloride poisoning
Mercuric chloride is a very poisonous form of mercury. It is a type of mercury salt. There are different types of mercury poisonings. This article discusses poisoning from swallowing mercuric chloride.
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or a local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
- Mercuric chloride
Mercuric chloride may be found in some:
- Dry cell batteries
Note: This list may not be all inclusive.
- Abdominal pain (severe)
- Breathing difficulty - severe
- Decreased urine output (may stop completely)
- Diarrhea (bloody)
- Metallic taste
- Mouth lesions
- Pain in the throat and mouth - severe
- Swelling in the throat - may be severe
Seek immediate medical help. DO NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by Poison Control or a health care professional.
Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:
- Patient's age, weight, and condition
- Name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
- Time it was swallowed
- Amount swallowed
Poison Control, or a local emergency number
In the United States, call 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a local poison control center. This hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.
What to expect at the emergency room
The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. The patient may receive:
- Activated charcoal
- Medicines to treat symptoms
- Medicines called chelators to remove mercury from the bloodstream
- Methods to make the person vomit (throw up)
This substance is very poisonous. How well the patient does often depends on what symptoms occur within the first 10 to 15 minutes after swallowing it and how quickly treatment is received. Kidney failure and death can occur, even with small doses.
If the poisoning has occurred slowly over time, any brain damage may be permanent.
Goldfrank LR, ed. Goldfrank’s Toxicologic Emergencies. 8th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2006.
Last reviewed 2/1/2013 by Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
- The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
- A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.
- Call 911 for all medical emergencies.
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