March 17-23 is National Poison Prevention Week. Poison is anything that can lead to illness or death if it is breathed, swallowed, and/or splashed in the eyes, on the skin or injected. Poisons can be found almost everywhere, including in the home, where about 90% of all poisonings occur. Poisoning can affect people of all ages; however, children under the age of 6 are the most vulnerable. By taking just a few steps, poison prevention is possible. Here are a few tips on how you can reduce the risk of poisoning in your home.
Home Safety Checklist
It is important to know that there are poison dangers in each room of the house. Whether it’s oven cleaner under the kitchen sink or medications in the bathroom cabinet, there are numerous products that can harm children (as well as adults) if accidently eaten, inhaled, used incorrectly or even touched. With your checklist in hand, go through each room to ensure all products are safely stored and out of reach of children.
Tips for Poison Prevention
- Store all over-the-counter medicines, prescription medications, vitamins and supplements in a locked cabinet and follow directions carefully on all medications and read the warning labels. Dispose of expired and/or unused medications.
- Routinely clean out purses, coat pockets and computer bags to ensure there are no medications, cosmetics or small items that are left for little hands to find.
- Keep all cleaners, chemicals, oils and medicines in their original containers so you know what they are.
- Store all chemicals, such as detergents, household cleaners, pesticides and automotive products in a securely locked cabinet and out of reach of children.
- Keep perfumes, cosmetics and personal care products stored where children cannot reach or see them. The colorful items attract children’s attention and can be dangerous if swallowed.
- Never store potentially poisonous products in the same place where food is kept. Children as well as seniors can easily mistake poisonous items for something to eat.
Signs of Possible Poisoning
It is extremely important to know the signs and symptoms of possible poisoning. If you suspect someone has been poisoned, it is essential that you call 9-1-1 immediately or bring them to Surepoint Emergency Center. Some of the signs may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
- Burning around the mouth
- Foaming in the mouth
Keep in mind that poisons can be lurking in the places where you least expect it. For example, food poisoning can occur from eating undercooked or raw eggs, so it’s best to avoid sauces that may contain raw eggs. Poison prevention also includes being aware of your surroundings! It is important to teach children to never put leaves, seeds, mushrooms or berries from plants into their mouths. Learn to identify poisonous plants in your neighborhood and always wear gloves when handling potentially poisonous plants.
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