Zinc

Definition 
Poisoning from an overdose of zinc.

Poisonous Ingredient 

Zinc

Where Found 

     
  • Zinc  
  • Various zinc salts such as zinc oxide (relatively nontoxic), zinc acetate, zinc sulfate and zinc chloride  
  • Multiple mineral supplements  
  • Multiple vitamin and mineral supplements  
  • Heated or burned galvanized metal (releases zinc fumes)

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Symptoms 

     
  • Burning sensation (body)  
  • Metallic taste  
  • Body pain  
  • Shock  
  • No urine output  
  • Collapse  
  • Convulsions  
  • Fever  
  • Chills  
  • Cough  
  • Shortness of breath  
  • Yellow eyes or yellow skin  
  • Rash  
  • Vomiting  
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea  
  • Low blood pressure

Home Treatment 
Give lots of milk or water immediately.

Before Calling Emergency 

Determine the following information:

     
  • The patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • The name of the product (as well as the ingredients and strength if known)  
  • When it was swallowed  
  • The amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
If you are concerned about a zinc overdose or toxic exposure, seek medical care immediately at the nearest emergency room. See poison control centers for the national telephone number. Take any containers with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

     
  • Giving milk or water.  
  • Using gastric lavage (pumping the stomach).  
  • Administering an antidote.  
  • Treating other symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis) 
The extent of illness and survival depend on the dosage and how much time passed before treatment. If symptoms are mild, full recovery is typical. If the poisoning is severe, death may occur up to a week after swallowing the poison.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Gevorg A. Poghosian, Ph.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.