Poison Prevention Week

Adrianne O. Vidrine  |  3/17/2011 8:08:57 PM

National Poison Prevention Week is March 20-26, 2011. The purpose of the week is to raise awareness about unintentional poisoning. Today, I have some information on poisoning to share with you from the Home Safety Council.

  • Poisons affect people in different ways. It often depends on what the poison is, how much poison a person is exposed to, the age of the person, whether the person has other medical or health conditions and how quickly the person receives treatment.
  • Poisons are more likely to be found in the garage, the kitchen and the bathroom than in other rooms of your home. Poisons can be found both inside and outside your home.
  • Plants. Many common plants are poisonous (the whole plant or just a part of the plant).

A few examples include: poison ivy, daffodil bulbs, lily-of-the-valley, rhubarb leaves, rhododendrons and mistletoe berries.

People should never eat plants or mushrooms unless they are experts at identifying those that are poisonous in the United States.

Plants that are nonpoisonous in one area might look like plants that are poisonous in another part of the country or world. People need to be especially careful when they move to or visit areas where they did not grow up.

  • Animals. Bites or stings from certain animals can be poison. Examples include some kinds of snakes, scorpions, bees, wasps and ants.
  • Some things people can do to reduce the risk of poisoning include:
    • Keep poisons in locked cabinets.
    • Use child safety latches or a combination or dial lock. Keys can disappear.
    • Keep medicines that need to be refrigerated in a locked container in the refrigerator.
    • Don’t store household products under the sink where children can get them.
    • Keep poisons and indoor plants up high where children can’t reach them.
    • Watch children carefully when they are playing outdoors to make sure they don’t handle or eat plants that may be poisonous.
  • Children are curious and like to copy what adults do. Try not to take medicine or use poison products while children are watching.
  • Children are often curious about what’s in purses or backpacks. If you keep products that can be poisonous there, make sure children cannot get them.

A little about medicines and poisoning:

  • Medicine can hurt you if you take too much or don’t follow directions. This includes medicine that the doctor prescribes for you and medicine that you can buy without a prescription (also called over-the-counter medicine). It also includes herbs and herbal drinks as well as vitamins or mineral supplements.
  • The doctor or pharmacist needs to know what other medicines you are taking. There are some medicines that you should not take if you are taking certain other medicines. Take a bag with your medicines with you when you go to the doctor or pharmacy or make a list that shows the names of the medicines, how much you take and how often you take them. Include prescription and nonprescription medicines as well as herbal and traditional medicines. Be sure to include medicines that you purchased or brought from another country.
  • When you choose over-the-counter medicine, be careful about taking two different medicines for the same thing. If they have the same active ingredient, you may get more of that ingredient than is safe. Ask your pharmacist about these medicines.
  • Never give a person medicine that has been prescribed for someone else.
    • Some medicine is only for adults. It should not be given to children.
    • Some people have specific health conditions. Using someone else’s medicines can make some of these conditions worse.
  • Never call medicine “candy” in order to get children to take it. Later, when they want a piece of candy, they may go looking for the medicine.
  • Sometimes older adults, adults with developmental problems and people who are sick can get confused. Be especially careful to ensure that these people take their medicines properly.
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