How to Spot Nickel Poisoning

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Nickel poisoning occurs through accidental inhalation. If you feel you may have been exposed, remove yourself from the contaminated area immediately and seek help. In most cases, a doctor will order an ECG, chest X-ray, biochemical profile, and she will want to check your blood count for the exposure level to determine what kind of treatment is necessary.

  • Be aware that nickel poisoning will occur if you inhale nickel carbonyl, eat contaminated food or drink contaminated water. It can also be absorbed through the skin from contaminated soil, water or by handling coins.

  • Watch for common symptoms including insomnia, frontal headaches, irritability, vertigo, nausea, vomiting and difficulty sleeping.

  • Recognize the delayed pulmonary symptoms, which typically appear about 16 hours after the initial symptoms. The will continue to worsen and peak around the fourth day.

  • Notice symptoms similar to those of pneumonia, such as chest pains, rapid heart rate, dry cough, sweating and weakness. Severe cases of nickel poisoning may result in death.

  • Look for an allergic reaction to nickel. Although rare, some people suffer from nickel allergies, which manifests in a rash of little red bumps. Areas of the skin that encounter items such as belts or jewelry are generally affected.

  • Get tested. A urine test can measure the level of nickel in your body to determine the severity of acute nickel carbonyl poisoning. Mild cases of nickel poisoning test below 100 ug/l, while moderate poisoning is between 100 and 500 ug/l. Testing 500 ug/l or higher is severe.

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