Young children are curious explorers. They like to climb and get into everything. Brightly colored pills and attractively packaged household products look like interesting toys or candy to our kids, and most, if given the chance, will put some of these products into their mouths and swallow them. Thousands of children each year are poisoned accidentally by ingesting medicines, drain cleaners, bleaches, other household chemicals, and sometimes even household plants.
To raise awareness, March 19-25th, 2017 has been named National Poison Prevention Week. As part of National Poison Prevention Week, Lincoln Health System would like to show support by raising awareness of the potential dangers of medicines and chemicals and outline preventative steps you can take to ensure the safety of those around you.
Surprisingly, poisoning is the #1 cause of injury death in Tennessee -ranking higher than motor vehicle crashes, drowning, and gunshot wounds. More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the nation’s poison centers. Tennessee Poison Control, which serves all 95 counties in Tennessee, received 51,975 calls last year alone. The Center is staffed with trained nurses, pharmacists, and physicians with extensive training in poison management. Through the confidential Poison Control Hotline, they can provide immediate treatment recommendations at no cost.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, approximately 90 percent of poisonings happen at home, and 51 percent of poisonings involve children under the age of 6. But the majority of fatal poisonings occur among adults, especially older adults.
Lincoln Medical Center will be handing out information on ways to prevent poisoning and refrigerator magnets with the number to the Tennessee Poison Control. We hope that by raising awareness and showing our support of National Poison Prevention Week, we will ultimately reduce the number of people who are involved in poisonings each year.
You too can help reduce these numbers! Program the Poison Help Hotline number in your phone -1-800-222-1222. Share the number with your friends especially those who have small children. Who knows you may save a life!
Poison Proof Your Home
Here are a few tips form the Tennessee Poison Center:
- Buy safety-packaged household products when available
- Learn how to correctly re-secure the safety feature after use so that the products will always be packaged safely
- Keep household products and medicines out of reach and out of sight of your child. Lock them up when possible
- Store all medicines away from household products and food. Keep medicine and household products in the original containers. Never put any medicine or chemical in a cup or soft drink bottle.
- Read the label on all medicines and household products and heed warnings and cautions.
- Always turn on the light when giving medicines. Never take medicines in the dark
- Do not take medicine in front of children. The child might imitate your actions.
- If you have a young child who is able to walk or crawl, keep household plants and products stored above floor level, not beneath the sink.
- If you are using a household product when called the telephone or door, take it with you; otherwise, your child could get into it.
- DO NOT cause your child to vomit unless you have been instructed to do so by the Poison Center or your doctor.
Don’t forget – If you suspect a Poisoning…
Call Tennessee Poison Center or seek medical help. Don’t wait to see what ill effects may occur. Help is fast, free, and confidential.
National Poison Prevention Week was established by the U.S. Congress in 1961 to focus national attention on the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them. To learn more about ways to keep people of all ages safe and help prevent poisonings, visit the Poison Help Web site at www.PoisonHelp.hrsa.gov (or to view materials in Spanish, visit www.PoisonHelpEspanol.hrsa.gov).
In case of a poison emergency, contact your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222.