Background: Folk prescriptions continue to be important sources of childhood lead poisoning. Nasal spray folk prescriptions for treating rhinitis has only been reported once previously as a cause of lead poisoning. Case presentation: We identified three pediatric cases of severe lead poisoning caused by nasal spray folk medicines prescribed for treating rhinitis. The three patients had similar clinical manifestations including: severe abdominal pain, headache, pale appearance and fatigue. Liver function tests were abnormal. Blood lead levels (BLLs) of the three patients were 91 μg/dL, 91 μg/dL, and 105 μg/dL, respectively. After chelation BLLs decreased. The lead content of the three folk remedies as measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) were 14.8, 22.3, and 33.4%. All the symptoms resolved during a course of chelation therapy. There were no severe side effects of treatment. Conclusions: Nasal spray folk prescriptions for treating rhinitis may contain extremely high bio-accessible lead content and are potential sources of lead poisoning. Clinicians should be alert to this possibility especially in those children presenting with multisystem symptoms.
- Folk medicine
- Lead poisoning
- Nasal spray
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health