Monday, November 26, 2012

Medical Mondays: Argyria and Smurfs, or "Why is that dude BLUE?"

Hey guys! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks again for joining in the Ally Condie MATCHED giveaway. The winner is...J.E. Fritz! *applause*



So today, I thought I'd talk about blue people. No, not the Na'vi, or the Smurfs. But I'm think I know what the secret ingredient in Chef Smurf's delicious cakes were:

Silver. 

So there's this disease called Argyria that is caused by chronic ingestion of silver (or application of silver to the skin) that causes the skin to turn blue. In the past, people who worked in factories with silver compounds or silver dust sometimes had Argyria.

This is from Wikipedia. Sorry for freaking you out on an early Monday morning:

From Wikipedia
Why does this happen? Silver is a natural antimicrobial, and has been used for skin salves, eyedrops, and oral medication to treat a variety of ailments besides infections. To this day, silver is often used to impregnate certain objects, like intravenous lines or endotracheal tubes to prevent infections. When too much silver is absorbed by the body (usually chronically ingested or taken) the silver compound reacts with sunlight to cause the bluish hue. This photo-reactivity of silver compounds was the reasons why it was originally used in photography and daguerreotypes. 

Generally, silver is thought to be of low toxicity, but few, rare people have died from chronic over ingestion of silver.

So. In case you were ever interested in looking like the Silver Surfer, be advised that eating your mom's fancy, sterling silver spoons won't really work. At all. 

Also, Smurfs are weird. Just thought I'd say that for the record.


*****


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41 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

I never heard of that. It really does turn a person blue. Yikes! Thanks for sharing about it.

Laura Pauling said...

That is completely scary! Wow.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Well, isn't that just smurfy? ;o) And now I've got that song stuck in my head. "Am I Blue?"

Seriously, though, that some scary stuff. Who knew silver would turn you blue?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is creepy! I'd think food coloring a better option.

Connie Keller said...

Wow! I can't wait to tell my son--he'll be really interested.

I agree with you about the Smurfs. Except, they are better in French--they're called "Les Schtroumpfs."

shelly said...

Too much of a good thing isn't good. Right?

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly

Old Kitty said...

Oh that poor silver man! :-( Oh dear!!

People - silver is metal - don't eat! LOL!

Take care
x

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Urgh. Not only is that poor man blue, he looks pretty sick!

SA Larsenッ said...

Note to self: no eating silver.

LTM said...

EW! Lydia! Gross... You need to give us a warning before some of these--LOL! This seems vaguely familiar to me. No idea why. Fascinating as always~ :o) <3

Jay Noel said...

There's also Cyanosis where a patient's lips, face, or upper half will turn a bluish color due to poor oxygenation of her blood. I watched a movie where the little baby turned blue from a heart defect.

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for the info - never heard of this!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Ouch! No way for me to begin the morning with that picture! It is sad what we do to our bodies out of ignorance. Have a great week, Roland

Barbara Watson said...

Whoa! So many weird-but-true stories.

Tamara Narayan said...

Wow, that's impressive. And scary. And gross. I suppose you could tattoo yourself blue, but that would be even more painful than eating silver.

I must admit, I watched the Smurfs back in the day and my kids own the new movie. They are annoying, but I'd rather la-LA-la-la-la-la than hear Barney's sickening I Love You any day of the week.

Linda Gray said...

For some reason, I absolutely love this factoid. Somehow it's going to find its way into a story I write. Thanks! (and I agree, Smurfs ARE weird)

Southpaw said...

That is really freaky.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

The silverware in my house will remain safe. I have no desire to look like the Silver Surfer!
Love medical Mondays!

mooderino said...

Weird disease. This is why I'll only eat pure gold.


mood
Moody Writing

Bathwater said...

At first I thought we already touched on blue people, now it seems there is a second reason people can be blue and neither really have anything to do with being sad.

Deb Salisbury said...

Wow! How fascinating!

That really needs to find a way into a story...

JEFritz said...

Well, I was totally stoked to have won and then I read the rest of the post and now I'm a little freaked out. But still pretty stoked.

Cool post. I have no plans of ingesting silver in the future.

alice-jane said...

Ooh, thanks for sharing! Isn't there a blue-skinned family in Kentucky in the late 1800's? I think they had methemogloinemia?

Shelley Munro said...

This is very interesting. When I think of Blue people I think of the Blue Men in Las Vegas. I thought they were a little strange :)

Anonymous said...

INTERESTING!!!!!

Leslie S. Rose said...

I remember seeing a blue dude on the news a few years ago. Bizarre, and NOT attractive. Yay, for Allie Condie. Love Matched and Crossed.

Carrie Butler said...

Oo, I love these posts! They're always so interesting. :)

Susan Fields said...

Whoa, that's freaky! Fascinating,though - it's amazing how many strange diseases are out there.

Catherine Stine said...

I've actually seen blue-ish people. An old guy in Manhattan, and a family in Colorado eating at a heath food restaurant. It seemed as if that family had some type of malnutrition--from an extreme vegetarian diet??

Coleen Patrick said...

I saw a guy on the Today show once who was blue because he took the stuff on a daily basis. I would NOT want to be blue. Yes, he looked Smurf like, but he also looked like a cartoon kid holding his breath for too long!:)

Krispy said...

Oh, the things I learn from your blog. I'm going to file this away in my Weird-Things-I-Can-Do-To-Characters folder...

Romance Book Haven said...

Scary! What if we wear heaps of silver jewellery everyday?

I have highlighted a new publisher and you are welcome to come by as they are inviting aspiring writers to ask their submission questions!

Nas

Kelly Polark said...

Yikes. That is smurfing crazy stuff!!!

Gina Gao said...

This is pretty creepy!

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

A Lady's Life said...

Wow! If you met someone like that you'd never know it was from silver. Would a doctor know?

Jai Joshi said...

I'm loving catching up on your posts! This is fascinating stuff. I wouldn't ever want to be that kind of blue. Navi blue, maybe, but not this kind of blue!

I heard about some people in West Virginia (or Virginia or somewhere) who have a genetic mutation that makes their skin blue. It runs in their family. I don't know all the details but this post made me think of that.

Jai

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