Even if you don’t have blatantly poisoning items lying around your house, that doesn’t mean that your house is poison-free. In fact, poisonings may be more frequent that you would imagine on first thought. In 2010, there were 2,582 unintentional poisonings that resulted in death. That’s about double the count in the year 2001.
To prevent both poisonings and the associated complications and death during Home Safety Month and year round, the Florida Department of Health /Children’s Medical Services and the Florida Poison Control Centers urge homeowners to know the right precautions to keep children and parents safe from poisonings.
Let’s first test your poison knowledge with three questions. Do you know:
• The top 5 poisons commonly ingested by children?
• What in your yard is poisonous?
• The new hazard that the Poison Control Centers recently discovered?
Stumped? It’s time to learn the answers.
The top 5 poisons toddlers enjoy placing in their mouths during playtime are:
• Household cleaners
• Cosmetics and personal care products
• Foreign objects, such as coins and watch batteries
• Plants, berries and mushrooms
Keeping these products on guard with safety latches won’t prevent curious children—it will simply slow them down. Securing these products in an out of reach location, preferably on a high shelf, is the best solution for keeping children safe.
All medications should be clearly labeled to prevent accidental ingestion of the wrong medication. Poisonings are not limited to children! In fact, many calls received by the Poison Control Center Staff are from adults who unknowingly ingested the wrong medication.
In the yard, there are three main concerns for homeowners:
• Paint on or chipped off of homes made before 1978, dust and soil can be contaminated by lead. Breathing or swallowing
these materials could cause lead poisoning, which could result in learning problems and lower intelligence.
• After hurricanes, while cleaning and burning excess lawn debris, double-check the plants that are being burned. Poison ivy is commonly thought of as just an itchy rash but can be life threatening when it is burned and the fumes are inhaled.
• Common household and garden plants can be poisonous– peace lilies, poinsettias, fox gloves and crotons just to name a few.
Laundry detergents have not been classified as one household cleaner to worry about– until now. While most laundry detergents may only cause mild gastrointestinal distress or no symptoms at all, the new type of laundry detergent packaged in “single dose packs” which dissolve in the washing cycle are now deemed hazardous.
The Florida Poison Control Centers received 474 calls about toddlers exposed to these gel packs. The packs are colorful, squishy and attractive to children and the main symptoms include vomiting, coughing, and possible seizure-like activity.
In any case where a poison is ingested or exposed, it is vital to call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 to help improve safety, track hazardous products and prevent future poisonings. This number is a national number and the calls are forwarded to closest local center.
The Poison Control Centers are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide poison exposures information to citizens and health practitioners. There are three Poison Control Centers in Florida — Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa. Every Floridian should have the Poison Control Center’s number in their cell phone in case of an emergency: 800-222-1222. Save the number now and you could possibly save a life!
Article coutesy of the Florida Department of Health.
Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times