As reported by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, every 12 seconds someone calls a poison control center for help.
Any substance can be poisonous if used the wrong way, consumed in the wrong amount or by the wrong person. According to the National Poison Data System Bulletin, 90 percent of poison exposures every year take place at home. Poisoning and poison exposures can be caused by a variety of dangerous or potentially dangerous substances. These substances include, but are not limited to hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, pesticides, over-the-counter medications, and prescription drugs.
Preparation, prevention, and protection are the best ways to avoid a poison accident in your home. Preparing for a poison emergency may seem overwhelming, but it is as easy as entering the Poison Helpline number in your mobile phone or posting it on the refrigerator at home. Calling this number 1-800-222-1222 may be the fastest way to obtain answers during an urgent situation.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a large percentage of people now carry or have easy access to hand sanitizer. While hand sanitizer has been recommended as a measure for helping during the pandemic, like any potentially unsafe substance, if used incorrectly hand sanitizer can be dangerous.
According to the NPDS Bulletin, hand sanitizer poison exposure cases have increased by 45% (Jan. 1 through Feb. 7) compared to the same time period last year. Most of the cases reported were between the ages of newborn and 5 years old. While that percentage may seem frightening, only 3 percent of those exposures had major effects on those individuals with zero exposures resulting in death. Hand sanitizer is not the only ordinary household item that can be used incorrectly and cause harm to family members.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers have several at-home safety tips that can prevent and protect your loved ones from poisonings.
Practice Safe Storage Habits: Keep items like medicines, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, alcohol, laundry and cleaning supplies, pesticides, insect repellents, batteries, garage chemicals, and personal care products in their original container and in cabinets that are secured.
Read and Follow Labels and Directions: Make a habit of reviewing the label on any potentially hazardous substance or product prior to use.
Detect invisible threats by installing carbon monoxide detectors.
Prepare Food Safely: Practice safe food preparation and handling to inhibit food poisoning. Prepare foods within a clean and sanitized environment, keep raw animal meets, eggs and vegetables separate during preparation, cook food thoroughly using a thermometer to check proper cooking temperatures, refrigerate leftovers quickly and consume them within 3-4 days.
While most ordinary house supplies like hand sanitizer are viewed as necessary and protective, always remember to follow the safest protocols when handling potentially hazardous materials to stop a poison emergency.
After reading this article, can you think of any potentially dangerous substances at home that are not in a safe location? What changes can you make at home to prevent a poison emergency? For more tips and information, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222.
Carson City Health and Human Services urges everyone to take a few moments to review your household steps to prevent poisoning emergencies. For resources and information about department programs and services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org, follow us on Twitter @CCHealthEd, “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchhs, follow us Instagram @gethealthycarsoncity, call us at (775) 887-2190, or visit us at 900 East Long St. in Carson City.