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Iron Poisoning (cont.)

Iron Poisoning in Children Self-Care at Home

If you suspect a child has accidentally swallowed iron tablets, call a doctor or poison control center immediately. You can locate your regional poison control center phone number before an emergency by checking the Website of the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

  • Do not attempt to induce vomiting, either manually or with syrup of ipecac. This will make it more difficult to assess whether a child is truly iron toxic.
  • Bring the medicine containers along with you to the hospital.

Iron Poisoning in Children Prevention

  • Keep medications where children cannot get to them.
  • Childproof caps are not a guarantee that children are safe from poisoning.
  • Educate children that unknown pills are not candy and can be harmful.

Iron Poisoning in Children Prognosis

Full recovery is likely for children (or adults) who show no symptoms for at least 6 hours after swallowing pills. Those with symptoms may be ill and require more aggressive treatment.

  • Iron poisoning can progress through several stages. A late, or hepatic stage, develops 2-5 days after ingestion. The person may have elevated liver enzymes, possibly ultimately resulting in liver failure.
  • Another late stage involves gastrointestinal scarring. Some 4-6 weeks after ingestion, the final stage manifests with early satiety (fullness after eating) or nausea from GI scarring and obstruction.

Medically reviewed by Margaret Walsh, MD; American Board of Pediatrics

REFERENCES: MedscapeReference.com. Pediatric Iron Toxicity.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/21/2016
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