House call: Poison Prevention Awareness

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 3:32 PM EDT
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March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month and National Poison Prevention Week is March 21 through 27. Joining us tonight for part one of our special series this month on poison prevention is Dr. Parth Bhatt, Pediatrician with Bridgeport Pediatrics.

1). How can we prevent poisonings?

Prevention is key when it comes to poisonings. It is important to:

· Store all medications and other products in their original package, jar or bottle.

· Never put products other than food in food containers.

· After use of any drug or chemical, put the cap back on and store the product out of reach and out of sight of children.

· Never call medicine candy.

· Use products with safety caps.

· Read and follow label directions on all products before using them.

· Keep the phone number of the West Virginia Poison Center on or near your telephone, which is 1-800-222-1222.

2). So, who is at risk of being poisoned?

Poisonings happen more often than you think. You may think that poisoning affects only a certain group of people—such as young children or older adults. This, however, is not true. Anyone, regardless of his or her age, race, ethnicity, or career, can be poisoned.

More than 2 million people called a poison center because someone had been exposed to a poison. Children under age six did account for almost half of all human poison exposures reported to poison centers.

3). What are the different forms of poison?

Poison comes in four forms: solids (such as medicine pills or tablets), liquids (such as household cleaners including bleach), sprays (such as spray cleaners), and gases (such as carbon monoxide).

Examples of poisons include:

o Alcohol

o Carbon monoxide (CO) gas

o Medicines, such as prescription (painkillers, iron pills), over-the-counter (cough and cold medicines), and illegal drugs (cocaine, heroin)

o Food supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, and herbal products

o Personal care products, such as nail polish and nail polish remover, cologne, aftershave, deodorant, mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide, makeup, soap, contact lens solution, lotion, baby oil, and diaper rash products

o Household and automotive chemicals or products, including bleach, laundry or dish detergent, furniture polish, cleanser, drain and toilet bowl cleaner, antifreeze, gasoline, paint, varnish, bug and weed killers

o Other household items (batteries, lighter fluid, alcohol, cigarettes)

o Plants, including many house plants, outdoor plants, and mushrooms

o Bites and stings, including scorpion, wasp, and bee stings, as well as snake and spider bites

o Hazardous chemicals at work and in the environment

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