Poison Prevention

By March 10, 2022Health Tips
March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month.  It is a time when people should take the time to make themselves aware of the potential hazards of poisoning, as well as understanding the potentially hazardous materials that are in your environment.  Everyone should have the Poison Help Line number easily accessible: 1-800-222-1222.
What is the most common place for poisonings to occur?
Poison PreventionMore than 90% of poisonings happen in people’s homes.  The majority of these happen in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.
What are common poisons that could be in and around your home?
  • Medicines – Many medications can be toxic if taken in higher than recommended amounts or taken in combination with certain other medications or with alcohol.  This includes over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as Tylenol, as well as prescription medications.
  • Carbon Monoxide – Common sources include gas stoves and cooktops, blocked chimneys, furnaces, water heaters, grills and barbecues, motor vehicles parked in a garage, portable generators, gas powered tools, gas clothes dryers.
  • Household products – such as cleaners, disinfectants, bleach
  • Chemicals – such as fertilizers, insecticides, antifreeze
  • Animals and insects
  • Plants, mushrooms, and berries
What can you do to help prevent poisoning?
First of all, teach your family to never touch or put anything in their mouth unless they know what it is.
Here are some other prevention tips:
  • Keep all medicines and potentially poisonous substances in locked cabinets or out of the reach of children.
  • Keep medications, household cleaning products, and all chemicals in their original containers, properly labeled, and stored appropriately.  Never store them in milk jugs, cups, or bottles.
  • Never share prescription medicines.  Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking, including OTC medications or herbal supplements and ask about possible drug interactions before taking a new medication.
  • Have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home.  You can use this link to see more about preventing carbon monoxide poisoning.
    The Silent Killer That Could Be In Your Home – eDocAmerica
  • Never mix household or chemical products together, as dangerous gases can be created.
  • Bleach is especially toxic and should NEVER be mixed with anything but water.  If mixed with any cleaning product containing ammonia, it produces a deadly chlorine gas.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables with running water.  Never use commercial cleaning products or bleach on foods.
  • Wash your hands and work surfaces before, during, and after preparing food.
  • Store food at the proper temperature.
  • Know what poisonous snakes live in your area and how to identify them.
  • Check the labels before using insect repellent.  Most of them contain DEET, which can be poisonous in large quantities.
  • Learn about common poisonous plants in your area.  Make sure that you and your family can identify poisonous plants and mushrooms.  Research houseplants for possible toxic effects before purchasing, especially if you have children or pets.
Next week we will talk about what you should do if you suspect that you or someone you know has been poisoned.
If you have any questions about poison prevention, please log into your account and send
us your question. We are here to help.

Dr. Anita Bennett MD – Health Tip Content Editor

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