Thursday, April 16, 2015

Beware of a New Street Drug Called “Flakka”

A dangerous new synthetic drug has been showing up on the streets. Known as “flakka”, it is very similar in nature to bath salts and has very serious side effects if ingested. The name of the drug comes from its similarity to gravel. What makes this drug incredibly dangerous is that it is currently cheap and legal.

Here’s what you need to know:

-It’s also called “$5 insanity” because it causes users to have severe delusions and develop an almost super human strength
-It is highly addictive
-It can be swallowed, snorted, injected or even put in an e-cigarette

-The health problems can be significant with body temperature levels reaching 105 or 106 degree Fahrenheit thus causing kidney damage among other issues
-It is a designer drug that not even toxicology tests can detect

If you or someone you know has ingested flakka, immediately call a Texas poison control center for assistance at 1-800-222-1222.

Synthetics Forum May 6th

Calls to Poison Centers about synthetic drugs are on the rise across the country. We're proud to announce that Dr. Ashley Haynes of the North Texas Poison Center, in collaboration with the Collin County Substance Abuse Coalition and Children's Health, will be a presenter at a one-of-a-kind synthetics forum "Lethal High: How Synthetic Drugs are Killing Youth" for health care professionals on May 6. To register for the event, please click here:


Monday, April 6, 2015

Celebrate National Public Health Week April 6th-12th, 2015!

National Public Health Week is a great time to get better informed about your health and an important time to highlight health issues that are significant to you and your community. According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), the United States trails other countries in life expectancy and other measures of good health for all ages. While the U.S. has some of the best doctors in the world, our health still ranks poorly when compared to other countries.

The Texas Poison Center Network (TPCN) wants to remind the public that poisonings are still the number one cause of injury-related deaths in the United States. By becoming better informed and taking the right precautions, we can help change this. Poison prevention is critical to the health of this nation. The most important tool the poison centers provide the public with is the national poison control toll-free number, 1-800-222-1222. Experts in toxicology, trained nurses, doctors and pharmacists are all waiting by the phone to answer your calls regarding poison-related questions, concerns or injuries.

Here are some important health tips from the TPCN:

-Always store medications up and out-of-reach of children. It is vital that children do not have access to medications without adult supervision.

-If you are unsure about taking two types of medications together, please contact the poison center for assistance.

-Never share medications with others that are prescribed to you.

-Keep potential poisons in their original container.

-Do not sniff chemical containers if you do not know what is inside. This can be extremely dangerous to your health.

If you do come in contact with a potential poison, please do not hesitate to contact the Texas poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Today is a great time to go ahead and save this number in your phone. You never know when you might need it!

During this week, take the time to engage with others to figure out how we as a nation can change the health of America so that it is a leading country in public health. And most importantly, learn about poison prevention to ensure you and your family stay safe and healthy.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Celebrate National Poison Prevention Week 2015!

During the third full week of March we will be celebrating Poison Prevention Week! This time of year is a great reminder to become better informed about how to keep yourself and others safe from unintentional poisonings.

What is considered a poison?
A poison is any substance, including medications, which can be harmful to your body if too much is ingested, inhaled, injected or absorbed through the skin. Accidental poisoning can occur when a person unintentionally takes too much of a substance and does not mean to cause harm.

Poisonings are more common than you think. Currently, more than two million poisonings are reported each year to the Nation’s poison centers. And according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, approximately 90 percent of these poisonings are happening at home with 51 percent of them involving children under the age of six.
While thoughts of an accidental poisoning can be daunting, the poison control toll-free help line is here to help when you need it the most!

Here are some poison facts and tips to remember:

  • In children ages six and younger, the most common exposure is to medicines, plants, pesticides and cleaning products.
  • Child-resistant packages are not childproof. Most two-year olds can open a child-resistant container in 4 to 5 minutes or less.
  • Calling 1-800-222-1222 from anywhere in the United States will connect you to a local poison center.
  • Keep all poisons locked up and out of reach of children.
  • Never refer to medicine (prescription, vitamins or otherwise) as candy as children may mistake tiny pills for yummy candy.
  • Get household furnaces checked yearly and make sure working carbon monoxide detectors are in the house and checked multiple times a year. This is especially important for the winter months.

What to Do in the Event of an Accidental Poisoning
In the event that you or someone with you has been poisoned, always remember to remain calm. Then call the toll-free Poison Help line right away at 1-800-222-1222. Stay on the phone with the poison control specialist and follow all the instructions you are given. For more information on accidental poisonings and what you can do to protect yourself and loved ones, please visit the Texas Poison Center Network website at

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Get Your Poison Educational Materials Just in Time for Poison Prevention Week 2015!

National Poison Prevention Week falls during the third full week of March which marks a great time to get educated on preventing poisons. Congress established National Poison Prevention Week in 1961 to help raise awareness, reduce unintentional poisonings and promote poison prevention.

A poison is considered any substance, including medications, which can be harmful to your body if too much is ingested, inhaled, injected or absorbed through the skin. An accidental poisoning occurs when a person unintentionally takes too much of a substance and does not mean to cause harm.

The Texas Poison Center Network (TPCN) wants to help spread awareness and remind the community to contact a poison center in the event of a possible poisoning. Throughout the third week of March, educators all over the country will be holding educational activities to help promote awareness about poison control services.

The TPCN provides educational materials for ordering and you can do it directly from their website so here’s your chance to get educated!

If you are located in Texas, please visit where you can order poison prevention pamphlets such as:

           Poison Prevention Guide

           Poison Safety Tips for Baby’s First Year

           Bites and Stings

           Poisonous Plants

           Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In the event that you or someone with you has been poisoned, first remain calm. Then call the toll-free Poison Help line immediately at 1-800-222-1222 and get connected to your local poison center. Peace of mind and help when you need it is just a phone call away.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Dangers of Unregulated Herbal Supplements

If you have been watching the news, you have seen the many stories covering recent herbal supplement findings. These findings include well-known herbal products that do not contain the herbs they claim to include and, alarmingly, some of these supplements contain wheat when they state that they are gluten-free. Many of these store-brand supplements are sold in national retail stores such as Target, Walgreens, GNC, and Walmart.  

Consumers should be aware that herbal supplements are not subject to the same standards for safety as medications here in the U.S.  That means that they are not regulated by the FDA or any other regulatory entity for that matter. If you choose to take herbal supplements, please be cautious.

One example of a misleading supplement is a store-brand ginkgo biloba tablet that might not actually contain what is listed on the label.   Instead that supplement could contain wheat, mustard, radish, and/or other ingredients that would not be considered of herbal nature that are not listed on the label. This information was brought to light when the New York State attorney’s office conducted an investigation into some store-brand supplements.

If you have taken an herbal supplement and had an adverse reaction or are simply concerned about the ingredients, please do not hesitate to contact the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

E-Cigarettes and Children: A Dangerous Combination

A while back, we ran a blog on the dangers of e-cigarettes, but with this issue being a very hot topic in the news currently, we felt it was important to address the issues regarding liquid nicotine. This past December, a one-year-old in New York died after swallowing liquid nicotine which has lawmakers now pushing for stricter regulation on e-cigarettes and how they are made.

E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, are designed to look like real cigarettes except they contain a battery, a heating element and liquid nicotine. These products were initially marketed as a safer alternative to smoking actual cigarettes. But they can be just as dangerous, if not more, if the liquid nicotine is swallowed.  
Nicotine is a poisonous chemical that can be found in the tobacco plant. It causes symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, shakiness, elevated heart rate, and sweating. Nicotine poisoning can even cause death. If a child were to ingest this liquid nicotine, even in very small quantities, it could potentially cause seizures and even death.  This product is very dangerous for children.

Even more alarming, a recent article on NPR states that the vapor produced by e-cigarettes can contain high concentrations of formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen. You read more here:

Here are some tips to keep your home safe from possible nicotine poisoning.
  • Keep all and any nicotine products up and far away from children’s reach.
  • Liquid nicotine should be kept locked up or completely out of the home if children.
  • Keep products in their original containers.
If you or a loved one has accidently ingested liquid nicotine or spilled some on your skin, please do not hesitate to contact the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222. Expert nurses and toxicologists are available 24/7- when you need them the most. Hablamos EspaƱol.

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year’s Resolutions: Keep them Safe and Poison Free

One of the biggest New Year’s resolutions that people have is to lose weight in the New Year. It’s so tempting to either drink something or swallow a pill that will melt the fat away.  However, we need to be aware of several products that may pose some health risks.

Below is a list of some of the most popular forms of losing weight and why they might not be the best choice. Remember, exercise and eating right is the healthiest way to lose weight- there are no quick fixes!
Weight Loss Supplements
Most of these supplements boast about losing weight fast and curbing your appetite. While it might be appealing to a consumer, many times these advertising techniques are untrue. Many supplement companies are not held to any standards so there is no way to know if what you are taking is safe or effective. Some products even claim to be natural but that still does not mean they are safe to take. If you are looking to lose weight, please talk with your doctor or healthcare practitioner first.

Cleanse and Detox Plans
These products state they help you lose weight quickly. But in reality, the weight loss comes from water and stool weight. These cleanses can also be dangerous to your health. They could cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

The acai berry is grown in the Amazon River basin of Brazil.  It is rich in antioxidants.  It also contains iron, calcium, vitamin A and fiber.  Food and beverages are made from the skin, which is only 5% of the berry.  This makes acai products expensive.  Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are less expensive alternatives.  The research evidence connecting acai and weight loss is lacking.

Herbal Teas
Some teas promoted for dieting contain laxatives.  Excessive use may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fainting and dehydration.  Causing diarrhea to reduce calorie absorption is not very effective.  Most of the calorie absorption occurs in the small intestine, but laxatives tend to work on the colon.  A temporary weight loss due to water loss will be reversed once the person drinks something.  Bulk-producing agents are supposed to give a sense of fullness, but there is no evidence that they reduce appetite.

The Facts on Diet Pills

The FDA now lists more than 70 weight loss products that may be harmful and contain undeclared, active pharmaceutical ingredients that include fenproporex, fluoxetine, furosemide, cetilistat, sibutramine, bumetanide, phenytoin and phenolphthalein. Some of these ingredients are not approved for marketing in the United States. Some are prescription drugs that exceed the maximum recommended dosages.  Seizures, heart attacks and strokes are possible.  Beware of claims and have realistic expectations.
Here are three fast, easy New Year's resolutions if you have young children. 1) Get down on the floor at your children's eye level. Find things that can hurt them: dropped pills, batteries, and toy parts; household products in low cabinets ... and get those things up, out of the way. 2) Program our number into your phones. 3) Post the poison center phone number by every phone in your home. Need phone stickers or magnets? Call us at 1-800-222-1222 or go to
If you have any questions about your medications, herbals or dietary supplements, please call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222. Don't guess, be sure! A medical professional will answer your call right away and give you the help you need.