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Lead Poisoning in Adults

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 4, 2022.

Lead poisoning is dangerous levels of lead in your blood. Poisoning usually happens when items that contain lead are accidentally inhaled or swallowed. Lead is found in paint, batteries, and gasoline fumes. Lead is easily absorbed and can cause nervous system damage. Lead also replaces calcium in bones.


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:

  • You have a seizure.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have been sleeping more, or have more difficulty than normal waking up.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your symptoms get worse, or do not go away.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Iron may be given to treat anemia caused by lead poisoning.
  • Vitamins and minerals may be needed. Calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C can help decrease blood levels of lead.
  • Anticonvulsant medicine is given to control seizures.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Lower your risk for lead exposure:

Local health departments can help you find resources to identify and reduce lead in your home or in your community. Ask your healthcare provider for more information.


  • Rest as needed. Start to do more each day.
  • Drink more liquids. This may help your kidneys get rid of the lead. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Eat healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. These may help you feel better and have more energy. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
    Healthy Foods

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

You may need to return for more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

For more information:

  • National Lead Information Center
    422 South Clinton Avenue
    Rochester , NY 14620
    Phone: 1- 800 - 424
    Web Address:

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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