Bromine is a natural element that is liquid at room temperature and gas at high temperatures. Poisoning is rare but possible in various ways, such as consuming contaminated food or being directly exposed to bromine gas. Dizziness and cough are symptoms of inhaled bromine poisoning, while a burning sensation on the skin is a symptom of direct exposure to bromine gas. If the gas is in the air, the most important action is to move away from the gas quickly, after which the person should remove his or her clothing and bathe. People exposed to bromine for long periods of time may have long-term health problems.
A person can get bromine poisoning by consuming contaminated water or food, having skin exposed to bromine, or breathing in fumes of bromine gas. To consume contaminated goods, bromine would have to be accidentally released into a water supply. Bromine settles near the ground because it is heavier than air, so people are at risk of exposing their lower bodies to bromine following the release of bromine gas. In addition, if the gas is still high in the air, a person could inhale fumes to get bromine poisoning.
Dizziness, cough, and irritation in the mouth, nose, or eyes are some symptoms of bromine poisoning. If a large amount of bromine was consumed, nausea and vomiting are key symptoms for which to look. Skin exposed directly to bromine usually feels cool for a moment, then starts to burn. Even if a person does not show obvious symptoms of bromine poisoning but poisoning is suspected, a medical professional should be seen.
If a person believes he or she was directly exposed to bromine, it is important to undress without lifting contaminated material over the head. Undressing should be immediately followed by thoroughly washing the body. Even if a person does not think he or she was directly exposed, it is best to seek fresh air and move away from the affected area. All removed clothing and personal effects should be handled as indirectly as possible and placed in plastic bags for disposal.
When bromine is breathed in, a person might experience long-term problems with his or her lungs. Due to systemic poisoning, a person might also experience damage to other vital organs. To avoid such problems, people should learn the symptoms of bromine poisoning and remove themselves from the source as quickly as possible. There is no cure or antidote for bromine poisoning, but medical professionals can help in other ways.