I live in an older home, and most of the walls are covered in lead-based paint. I am concerned that my son might be in danger of lead poisoning. What are some of the symptoms of lead poisoning, and how do I get him tested?
Lead poisoning can cause many symptoms, including irritability, headaches, weight loss, nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, fatigue, and muscle weakness. However, many kids with lead poisoning don't show any signs of the illness.
If you're concerned that your son might be at risk for lead poisoning, talk with your doctor. It's important to get your child tested for lead poisoning, as many other illnesses can cause these same symptoms. Your doctor may recommend a blood test that will help to make (or rule out) a diagnosis of lead poisoning.
Younger children are at higher risk for lead exposure, especially those who live in communities where the homes were built before 1978 (particularly those before the 1950s) because the homes may contain lead-based paint. State health department recommendations for lead screening vary depending on a child's age and risk of lead exposure.
Health care providers should follow the state laws for lead screening. If a child lives in a state where there is no lead screening program, children should be screened at 12 and 24 months age (when the highest risk occurs).
Talk to your child's doctor to learn more about lead exposure prevention and how to evaluate your child's risk.
Reviewed by: Yamini Durani, MD
Date reviewed: May 2015
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) The EPA is the government agency that works to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment.|
|Blood Test: Lead In babies and young kids whose brains are still developing, even a small amount of lead can cause learning disabilities and behavioral problems. A lead test can determine the amount of lead in the blood.|
|Lead Poisoning Long-term exposure to lead can cause serious health problems, particularly in young kids, so it's important to find out whether your child might be at risk for lead exposure.|
|Can Lead Affect My Unborn Baby? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|How Can We Tell if Our Home's Paint Contains Lead? Find out what the expert have to say.|
|Auditory Processing Disorder Kids with APD can't process what they hear as other kids do, because their ears and brain don't fully coordinate. But early diagnosis and therapy can improve their hearing skills.|
|Pica Some young kids have the eating disorder pica, which is characterized by persistent and compulsive cravings to eat nonfood items.|
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