National Poison Prevention Week

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  • Did you know that more than 70 percent of all poison deaths occur in adults ages 20 to 59?
  • Did you know that about 90% of poisonings happen in the home?
  • Did you know that poisoning is a leading public health problem, second only to motor vehicle crashes as a leading cause of unintentional injury death?

National Poison Prevention Week is March 15-21, 2009. We are including information on poisonings here to help protect the safety of individuals, their families, and our community. Here are some facts:

Most poisoning exposures are unintentional. A poison exposures happens when a person swallows, breathes, touches, or gets splashed in the eye with something that can cause sickness or death. Poisoning is a matter of dose – too much of anything can be dangerous. Products such as pain medicines and household cleaning products are common causes of poison exposure in the U.S. Most consumer products are safe if the label directions are followed, but some can be poisonous if used incorrectly.

The good news is that Poison Centers can be reached at 1-800-222-1222. Dialing this number will connect you to your local Poison Center. There are 61 Poison Centers around the country, and dialing the 800 number will connect you to the Poison Center in OUR AREA, with local experts answering the phone. Poison Centers are staffed by nurses, pharmacists and physicians. You can get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The call is free and confidential.

If you think someone has been poisoned, call Poison Help right away. Don’t wait for signs or symptoms! Your problem or question can most likely be solved on the phone. The expert can give first aid advice. He or she can tell you what to look for. More than 70% of poisonings are taken care of on the phone. A call to Poison Help (1-800-222-1222) could save you money on a costly emergency room visit.

If the poison expert thinks you have an emergency that requires hands-on care, the expert will tell you to call 911. It is important to keep 911 in mind for all other emergencies. In any situation – even poisonings – if someone is not breathing you should call 911 fast!

Here are some basic steps you can take at the first sign of a poisoning:

* The person inhaled poison.
– Get to fresh air right away.
– Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222).

* The person has poison on the skin.
– Take off any clothing the poison touched.
– Rinse skin with running water for 15 to 20 minutes.
– Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222).

* The person has poison in the eyes.
– Rinse eyes with running water for 15 to 20 minutes.
– Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222).

* The person swallowed the wrong medicine or too much medicine.
– Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222).

* The person swallowed a chemical, pesticide, or other poison.
– Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222).

* The person has collapsed or stopped breathing.
– Call 911 or your local emergency number.