Poison: What to do?

April 23, 2014 Cheryl Smith Awareness and Prevention, Children's Health

poison

Poison

Did you know that more than 2 million poisonings are reported each year?  According to the Poison Prevention Council more than 90% of reported poisonings occur in the home.  The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children, and poisoning is one of the leading causes of death in adults.  So what do you and the members of your family need to know to be safe?

Prevention:

  • Install safety latches on cabinets for medicines and household products.
  • When possible buy child-resistant products; however remember it is still important to keep a close watch on children since they may eventually figure out how to open these containers.
  • Close child-resistant containers tightly after use.  Many incidents occur when a parent becomes distracted and forgets to completely close the container after use.
  • Be sure to keep this Poison help number near your phone 1-800-222-1222.
  • Read product and medicine labels before use.
  • Teach children to always ask before eating or drinking something.

When Poisoning Occurs:

By a significant margin most poisoning occurs by ingestion.  The majority of deaths in children are accidental while most poisoning deaths that occur in adults are intentional.  The misuse of pain medications, personal care products, and household cleaning products can lead to poisoning.  The effects can be wide ranging and often resemble those of other common illnesses.  Side effects may include: abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, vomiting, and even an altered mental status. 

In a situation where you believe someone has ingested something poisonous act quickly.  Sometimes ingestion is described by the person or there are other clues such as open and empty containers, usual smells, odd stains on clothing, skin or lips.  Activate EMS if the person shows any signs or serious symptoms and call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222. 

Do not induce vomiting, or give water or milk or anything else unless advised by the Poison Control Center or EMS.  The use or overuse of alcohol, drugs or medications can result in serious life-threatening complications, diminished mental status, depressed breathing or loss in an airway, or vomiting may occur.

If a person happens to stop breathing after a poisoning occurs, call 911 and start CPR immediately.  For more information on how to learn CPR or to sign up for CPR/First Aid classes please visit our calendar!

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