Treatment For Zinc Overdose: What Are Its Causes & Symptoms?

Zinc is an essential mineral for human health. Although required in very small amount, zinc has vital role in various activities that takes place in body. It has important role in production of many enzymes, which also includes production of genetic material the DNA and RNA. It is also necessary for proper wound healing and maintaining healthy skin.

Zinc helps to build strong immune system. It also aids in maintaining normal taste and smell besides proper sexual function.

Zinc metal has many industrial uses. It is added in paints, solvents and even in material used for construction. It is also used in rubber industry, dyes and chemicals. Zinc poisoning although not common can cause significant damage to the body, sometimes even life threatening.

Zinc poisoning can occur if a person is exposed to large amount of zinc in industry or overdose can result from excess consumption of zinc supplements. Zinc overdose is dangerous. It can produce hoards of symptoms ranging from serious convulsion to mild rashes on skin.

Signs And Symptoms Of Zinc Poisoning

The symptoms of zinc overdose can be hazardous and needs to be treated immediately.

The symptoms can be local as well as systemic involving vital organs of the body. Over dose can be sudden in onset or delayed after few weeks or months.

The normal requirement of zinc in men is 15 mg and in women it is 12 mg. Intake of zinc exceeding 40 mg can produce zinc toxicity.

Symptoms that are sudden in onset are:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fainting spell
  • Chills and fever
  • Shock
  • Stoppage of urine as a result of acute renal failure.
  • Bad and metallic taste in mouth.

Symptoms resulting from chronic toxicity:

  • Aches and pain in body.
  • Yellow discoloration of skin.
  • Lowered immune system.
  • Urinary tract infection.
  • Intake of more than 40 mg daily can increase the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Loss of taste.

What Are The Causes Of Zinc Overdose?

Zinc overdose usually does not occur from the food that you eat. Many foods contain zinc as one of the minerals. Good source of zinc is oysters, beef, pork, liver, wheat germ, miso, lamb, crab.

Zinc overdose can occur due to overexposure to zinc in industries where zinc is used. It is used in paints, varnishes, construction material, rubber industry, dye and chemicals. People working in these industries are at greater risk of zinc poisoning.

Another important cause is consuming excess amount of zinc supplements than recommended.

Treatment Options For Zinc Overdose

Zinc overdose or poisoning is dangerous for health. It may increase the risk of fatality. Therefore it is extremely important for the patient to seek immediate medical help if he suspects the symptoms to be of zinc poisoning.

Once the patient is hospitalized, doctors will try to stabilize the patient and monitor vital parameters such as pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation etc. Patient may require intravenous fluids if he has history of persistent vomiting and diarrhea which are common symptoms of zinc overdose.

Besides, if the supplements are taken within few hours, they may try to flush out the gastric content through a tube that is placed inside the stomach through nasal route. The gastric content is aspirated and the stomach is washed to prevent absorption of remaining supplement.