The Nebraska Regional Poison Center (NRPC) will unite with the nation’s other 54 poison centers to celebrate the 56th Annual National Poison Prevention Week held March 18-24; a week dedicated to raising awareness about poisoning in the U.S. and highlighting ways to prevent it, released information from the NRPC says.
Each year, U.S. poison centers receive nearly three million poisoning exposure calls. The NRPC manages close to 40,000 calls annually. Of those calls, more than half involve children 5 years of age and under but the most serious exposures involve adults.
Most poisoning deaths are due to misuse and abuse of drugs but poisoning exposures can involve a vast array of substances such as household cleaning products, personal care products, chemicals, bites and stings, pesticides, plants, gasses and batteries. For example, each year more than 2,800 children are treated in emergency rooms after swallowing button batteries. That’s one child every three hours.
Small children are explorers and they learn by touch and by putting things into their mouths. According to Safe Kids Worldwide nearly nine out of 10 parents agree that it’s important to store medicine up high and out of reach of children after every use, but nearly seven in 10 report that they aren’t actually doing this. Poisonings are the leading cause of unintentional deaths in the U.S.
Actions people can do to diminish these numbers include:
• Saving the Poison Center number in their phone as a contact: 1-800-222-1222
• Be sure to read and follow medicine labels every time.
• Never sharing prescription medicine with others or use someone else's medicine.
• Remember to always use the dosing device that comes with the medicine.
• Take only one medicine at a time with the same active ingredient.
• Store all medicines up and away and out of reach and sight of children.
• Teach children to only take medicines with the permission and guidance from a parent or trusted adult.
• Installing and maintaining carbon monoxide detectors in homes.
• Being aware of where the disc batteries are in their home. They may be found in remote controls, key fobs, watches and toys. Keep batteries away from children.
• Make sure all cleaning materials, including laundry packets, are stored in original containers and up and out of sight of children.
• It is important to get rid of old and unused medicines as soon as they are not in use. There are pharmacies that take back medications all year round.
• Text “poison” to 797979 to save the contact information for poison control in your smartphone.