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Dangers of lead exposure

Published March 04. 2014 05:00PM

Q. What can I do to avoid lead exposure?

Lead exposure can cause anemia, make you irritable, affect your memory and ability to concentrate, and it can increase blood pressure, particularly in older people.

Lead can also lead to digestive problems and cataracts. Exposure to high lead levels can be fatal.

The following are some significant sources of lead exposure: tap water, lead-based paint that was used before it was banned from housing in 1978, soil, household dust, lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery.

Here are some steps you can take to prevent exposure to lead:

• Clean up paint chips immediately.

• Clean floors, window frames, windowsills, and other surfaces weekly.

• Wash hands often.

• Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.

• Repair damaged painted surfaces

• Plant grass to cover soil with high lead levels.

• To remove lead hazards permanently, you must hire a certified lead-abatement contractor.

Contact the National Lead Information Center to locate certified contractors in your area. You can email NLIC on this

Q. What's the best way to treat a nosebleed?

Resist every instinct in your body to tilt your head back or to lie down. You have to keep your head higher than your heart to cut down on bleeding. And, if you lean back, you can swallow blood, which can produce vomiting and diarrhea.

The best technique is to sit down and lean slightly forward so the blood will drain out of your nose. Then, using your thumb and index finger, squeeze the soft portion of your nose together.

Hold your nose until the bleeding stops. Don't let go for at least five minutes. Repeat as necessary. You can also place an ice pack across the bridge of your nose.

Self-treatment can stop almost all nosebleeds. If bleeding persists, get immediate medical attention.

Q. I'm thinking of getting a tattoo. How could it affect my health?

Complications from tattoos are relatively uncommon. However, there are risks that include: blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis, tetanus, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS; granulomas, which are bumps that can form around tattoo; keloids, which are scars that grow beyond normal boundaries; local bacterial infections, and allergic reactions.

Also, tattoos can create a misdiagnosis with Magnetic Resonance Imaging because there is metal in many tattoo pigments. Magnets attract metals. So, tattoo pigments may interfere with the quality of the image from an MRI. In some rare cases, people experience swelling or burning in the tattoo when they have an MRI. If you decide to get a tattoo, make sure the establishment is licensed and reputable.

If you would like to ask a question, write to

The Times News, Inc., and affiliates (TIMES NEWS) do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the author do not necessarily state or reflect those of the TIMES NEWS. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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