The New Madrid County Health Department provides Lead Screening to children on Monday-Thursday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, by appointment only. Such screenings are used to determine levels of lead in the blood. Follow-up and counseling is provided to children with elevated levels of lead.
What is Lead Poisoning?
A disease caused by swallowing or inhaling lead - even small amounts of chipped lead paint or leaded dust. Lead is most harmful to young children (under 6 years). Why? They put everything into their mouths and their bodies absorb lead more easily than adults. Pregnant women who are exposed to lead are also at risk because the ingested or inhaled lead can cross the placenta and expose the unborn fetus.
What can be done if a child has Lead Poisoning?
Good and frequent hand washing is the best defense against lead poisoning in small children. Since lead must be ingested to cause poisoning, it is vital to keep hands and fingers clean before the child puts them into their mouth. Always wash hands before eating, nap-time, and at bedtime. Severely poisoned children are treated with a medication - chelation therapy - which requires hospitalization. This may reduce the level of lead in the body, but may not completely eliminate it. The most important thing is to prevent exposure or prevent further exposure to lead.
Are you or your child at risk for lead poisoning?
Answer the following questions?
Does your child...
..... have siblings (brothers/sisters) or playmates that have or did have lead poisoning?
..... have cousins with whom they visit frequently that have or did have lead poisoning?
..... live in or frequently visit a house or daycare built before 1950?
..... reside in or visit a house built before 1978 with recent or on-going renovations or remodeling within the last six months?
..... eat or mouth non-food items - dirt, starch, clay, ashes, plaster?
..... play in soil or reside in a lead smelting area?
..... receive unusual medicines or folk remedies?
If the answer to any of the about questions is yes, then a lead test should be done for your child.
Contact the New Madrid County Health Department for more information. (573) 748 -5541.