This is a repost of a past article, updated
Under the circumstances, with so many schools closing and more and more people staying home to help mitigate the risks of spreading the coronavirus, a very timely awareness week is underway. March 15-21 is National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW). So, while you’re working to set up a new at-home schedule and weathering the current storm under social quarantine, be careful to consider a few other important concerns to make sure your time at home is as pleasant as possible.
You might be tempted to look past this week of awareness believing that you already have the knowledge about what items you should never ingest and consider yourself wise enough not to consume them in the first place. But if you have children, you have family members who are easily distracted by various products that you don’t think twice about. While you’re looking for your keys, your child may innocently ingest garden chemicals, cleaning products, or prescription drugs, and quickly find himself or herself in the emergency room with accidental poisoning. In fact, almost 7% of all kids under 4 will experience poison exposure, and close to half of all poison exposure situations involves kids under 6.
Tips for Medicine
Many parents and grandparents leave medicine bottles out on the counter or on a bedside table without considering how dangerous this can be. Curious children explore things that are within their grasp. Often medications can be brightly colored and young children may think they are sampling a new candy. If you have children, or plan to have your grandchildren over for a visit, make sure that all medications are put away and kept out of reach. 86% of ER visits for children are a result of medicinal poisoning from medications found in the home. This includes over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, vitamins, and supplements. You may even consider storing other items such as diaper cream, hand sanitizer, or eye drops out of sight from little ones. If your child requires medication and you need to leave him or her with another caregiver, be sure to leave specific instructions and always use the dosing device that comes with the medication. This will ensure your child receives the correct amount of medication.
Tips for Household Products
As your desire for spring cleaning approaches, so should your desire to keep these potentially dangerous products away from curious children. Make sure that cleaning products stay in their original containers and in cabinets that are locked or too high for children to reach. Store chemicals and cleaning products away from food and do not put them in containers that are also used for food like cups and bowls. These products can also be harmful to unassuming adults, so read the labels and warnings before you use the product. In many cases, you’ll want to open a window or turn on a fan while using the chemicals and cleaners. Never sniff the product directly and certainly don’t attempt to consume it. Even in small doses, these chemicals can be life-threatening to both humans and pets. In some cases, the chemicals may even cause the skin to burn. Wear gloves and be cautious when using drain openers, toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaner, and rust remover. Products that are made from petroleum like lamp oil, lighter fluid, kerosene, gasoline baby oil, furniture polish, and paint thinner can easily cause breathing problems if swallowed. The liquid gets inside and coats the lungs, preventing oxygen from entering the bloodstream. Take every precaution necessary to keep your pets, children, or grandchildren safe.
Tips for Being Outdoors
If you plan to garden this spring, make sure that you are extremely careful when using pesticides. The chemicals in pesticides can be poisonous if inhaled or if there is contact with your skin. Cover yourself completely when dealing with pesticides by wearing long pants, long sleeves, gloves, and shoes. Be sure remove your clothing and wash your skin with soap and water after coming into contact with these products. Keep garden chemicals away from young children to avoid consumption. If insects pose a problem as the weather gets warmer, do not use too much DEET since this chemical is extremely harmful in large quantities. Read labels carefully. When applying insect repellent, avoid contact with your eyes and mouth, and be careful around the ears. Be able to identify and stay away from harmful plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac—especially if you, your child, or your grandchild is allergic.
As always, in the event of an emergency or if you have a question, you can always call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222. If you have questions or concerns about your overall health at any life stage, contact The Woman’s Clinic today for an appointment.