Poison Prevention Week: What You Need to Know

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By: Andrea Rizkallah, Editorial Intern

Poisoning can happen at any time, often from everyday household items, and frequently to children under the age of 5. Please make sure you and your loved ones save the Poison Help line phone number (1-800-222-1222) and following these tips provided by the Maryland Poison Center at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and the Poison Prevention Week Council.

Here are some helpful prevention tips to stay poison-free:

  • Install safety latches on cabinets used for medicines and cleaning products.
  • Buy products in child-resistant packaging whenever possible.
  • Teach children to always ask an adult before eating, drinking or touching anything.
  • Never borrow a friend’s medicine or take old medicines.
  • Read the labels of prescription and over-the-counter medicine carefully and always consult a doctor if you have any questions.
  • Never combine household products, as some chemical mixtures may release irritating gases.
  • Wear protective clothing when spraying pesticides and other chemicals.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors near or in your home’s sleeping areas and on every level of the home.

If you’ve taken all the above precautionary measures, but someone in your home has become poisoned anyway, follow these emergency tips:

  • If the person has inhaled poison, get him/her to fresh air right away.
  • If the person has poison on the skin, take off any clothing on the affected area and rinse the skin with running water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • If the person has poison in the eyes, rinse eyes with running water for 15 to 20 minutes.

If you believe someone has been poisoned, call the Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222) immediately. If the person is not breathing, call 911.

poisonHere are some things to know when calling the Poison Help line:

  • The person’s age and weight
  • Known health conditions or problems
  • The product involved
  • When and how the product contacted the person
  • What first aid has already been given
  • Whether the person has vomited
  • Your exact location and how long it would take to get to a hospital

While these tips are helpful, they are not all inclusive. Please visit the Poison Help website, the National Poison Prevention Week website and the Maryland Poison Center for more information.