Symptoms of iron poisoning develop in stages, beginning with vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Pills containing iron are commonly used to treat certain kinds of anemia. Iron also is included in many multiple vitamin supplements. Children – especially toddlers – who overdose on these pills may develop iron poisoning. Because many households contain multiple vitamin supplements with iron for adults, iron overdose is common.
However, overdose of iron-containing vitamins, particularly children’s chewable vitamins, usually does not involve enough iron to cause serious poisoning. Overdose of pure iron supplements, however, may cause serious iron poisoning.
Serious iron poisoning first irritates the stomach and digestive tract. Within hours, iron poison the cells, interfering with their internal chemical reactions. Within days, the liver can be damaged.
Weeks after recovery, the stomach, digestive tract, and liver can develop scars due to the previous irritation.