MS Department of Health Urges Parents to Take Steps to Prevent Lead Poisoning

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Hundreds of Mississippi children suffer from lead poisoning each year, yet lead poisoning is preventable. Exposure to lead can cause serious problems for children, including learning difficulties, slowed growth, hearing problems, and aggressive patterns of behavior. The Mississippi State Department of Health’s Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes Program (M.S.L.P.P.H.H.P.) is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 19th-25th, to raise awareness of childhood lead poisoning and what can be done to prevent it.

In 2012, the Mississippi State Department of Health (M.S.D.H.) Lead Prevention program identified a total of 383 children less than six years old with blood lead levels that required medical intervention.

Children can be exposed to possible sources of lead from:

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•Lead-based paints
•Batteries
•Keys
•Metal toy jewelry
•Dust and soil
•Mini-blinds
•Electrical cords
•Garden hose

Despite the presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is entirely preventable. The M.S.D.H. recommends the following tips to reduce your child’s exposure to lead:

•Clean your child’s hands with soap and water before eating and after playing outside. If you can’t wash their hands with soap and water, use hand sanitizers or baby wipes.
•Give your child a diet rich in iron, calcium, and vitamin C and frequent meals throughout the day since lead is absorb less on a full stomach.
•Remove shoes before entering your home and change clothes and shower before coming in contact with small children. This especially applies to anyone who works with lead (welding, construction, painting, and mechanics).
•Have your home tested for lead. If your home was built before 1978, it may have lead-based paint.
•Have your child tested. Lead exposure frequently goes unrecognized since it occurs with no obvious symptoms. The only way to know whether your child has lead poisoning is to have a lead blood test.

Follow M.S.D.H. by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.