Southern 7 Health Department encourages blood lead screening
Southern 7 Health Department is working to promote awareness about blood lead screening.
The buildup of lead in the body is known as lead poisoning.
Of the 1 million children aged 6 years and younger in Illinois, approximately 100,000 have blood levels that are too high, the health department reported.
Even the smallest amount of lead can harm a child’s brain, kidneys and stomach, as well as slow development and cause learning and behavior problems.
Oct. 23-29 was observed as National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.
In an effort to protect children against lead poisoning, Southern 7 Health Department is encouraging parents and caregivers to take all necessary precautions to prevent lead poisoning, and to share the message with other families in the coming weeks and month.
All children 6 months to 6 years should be assessed for their risk of lead poisoning, especially if they live in or regularly visit a home that has paint original to 1978 or prior.
The local Southern 7 Health Department can do this simple blood test. If too much lead is found in the blood, a child may need treatment.
Women planning to have a baby should also be tested for lead. Lead in a mother’s body can cause a baby to be born too small and too early.
The health department advised that the best way to prevent lead poisoning is to get the lead out. Steps to take include:
Wash your child’s hands before they eat.
Foods high in Vitamin C, iron, and calcium, such as meat, eggs, raisins, greens, milk, cheese, fruits and potatoes, help get the lead out of a child’s system.
Wash your child’s toys often and throw away lead-painted toys.
Do not store food in open cans or pottery.
If you work with lead, shower and change clothes before coming home. Wash your work clothes separately.
Run cold water for a few minutes before using it for cooking and drinking. Do not use water from the hot water tap for cooking, drinking or making formula.
Wear protective clothing, including gloves and a facemask, to clean up chipping and peeling paint inside and outside your home. Wash all clothing separately.
Testing for blood lead is available through Southern 7 Health Department on both the IDPH Wellness on Wheels, WOW, van and public health clinics.
To schedule a blood lead screening for your child, or for more information about testing, call Southern 7 Health Department at 618-634-2297.
For more information on getting the lead out of your home safely, call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Illinois Lead Program at 866-909-3572.