Accidental poisoning can be prevented

Michele Page

According to the CDC, unintentional poisoning deaths have steadily risen since 1992. In 2000, poisonings led to $26 billion in medical expenses and made up 6 percent of the economic costs of all injuries in the United States. Additionally, unintentional poisoning killed more people ages 35 to 54 than motor vehicle deaths.

Kay Thomas of the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee set up an information booth at the Tri-County Rural Health Network Day on Saturday to show how an unintentional poisoning could happen.

Her space consisted of different sized bottles filled with clear and green-colored substances.

“What’s in there?” one small child asked Thomas, pointing to a water bottle filled with what looked like water.

“What do you think is in here?” asked Thomas, to which the child replied, “Water.”

Thomas said the water bottle contained rubbing alcohol, which is very poisonous if ingested.

Thomas offered some very valuable advice to children as well as parents at Tri-County Day.

She told children that poisons call look pretty, smell and taste good and are everywhere from kitchens to bathrooms and even the garage. Poisons are even found in Grandma’s purse.

Children were encouraged not to drink anything that their parents didn’t give them and to tell an adult if they think they have ingested a poison. Thomas gave out coloring books and poison control stickers for their parents post near the telephone.

Tips for adults include: 

- Read and follow the directions and warnings on the label before taking any medicine.

- If you have any questions about the intended use of your medicine, contact your doctor.

- Some medicines are dangerous when mixed with alcohol.

- Be aware of potential drug interactions. Some medicines interact dangerously with food or with other medicines.

- Your doctor should be made aware of all medicines, prescription or over-the-counter, you are currently taking.

- Talk to your doctor before taking any natural or herbal supplements.

- Never take medicines in the dark.

- Old and outdated medicines should be disposed of.

- Some medications can become dangerous or ineffective over time.

- Never share prescription medicines.

- Keep potential poisons in their original containers.

- DO NOT use food containers such as cups or bottles to store household and chemical products.

- Store food and household and chemical products in separate areas. Mistaken identity could cause a serious poisoning.

- Read and follow the directions and caution labels on household and chemical products before using them.

- Never mix household and chemical products together. A poisonous gas may be created when mixing chemicals.

- Turn on fans and open windows when using household and chemical products.

- When spraying household and chemical products, make sure the spray nozzle is directed away from your face and other people.

- Wear protective clothing—long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks, shoes and gloves—when spraying pesticides and other chemicals.

- Pesticides can be absorbed through the skin and can be extremely poisonous.

- Stay away from areas that have recently been sprayed.

- Never sniff containers to discover what is inside.

- Discard old or outdated household and chemical products.

- First aid instructions on product containers may be incorrect or outdated.

The Daily World