Monday, September 10, 2018

Another Challenge NOT Worth Participating In: The “Fire Challenge”

Recently a new challenge not worth partaking in has been making the rounds on social media called the “fire challenge”. While this challenge is not technically new, since it dates back to 2014, it is starting to make its rounds again.

The challenge consists of individuals pouring a small amount of rubbing alcohol on their bodies and then lighting it on fire, all the while filming the entire event to share on social media channels. Once this happens, the idea is to then quickly extinguish the flames with water.
In late August, a 12-year-old girl from Detroit attempted this challenge and landed herself in the intensive care unit. She lost control of the fire and became engulfed in flames, leaving her with second and third-degree burns covering almost half of her body. She will need multiple surgeries to recover!  This is why the Texas Poison Control Network is urging teens not to participate in this challenge.

This is a dangerous challenge that can cause lifelong effects. Nothing is worth trying to get more followers on social media. Please think safety first!

How to Treat a Thermal Burn

Here are some things you can do at home that can help alleviate pain, discomfort and healing for thermal burns!

·         If you are on fire in any way, put the fire out with water, a fire extinguisher, or with a blanket/tarp.   If your clothes caught fire, remove them immediately.

·         Run affected area under cool water or immerse the burned area in cool water.

·         Cover the area with a sterile, non-adhesive bandage or clean cloth. It is best not to apply ointments due to the possibility of infections.

·         To treat pain, take an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen.  Make sure you follow the dosing chart on the medication.

·         If you see signs of redness, swelling, oozing, get a fever or the pain increases, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact poison control for additional information at 1-800-222-1222 or visit our website at

Monday, August 20, 2018

TPCN Spotlight Blog: North Texas SPI Tiffani Dorman

Hello everyone!!! It’s me Tiffani!!! Well, here is goes….I was born and raised in Pontiac, MI. I moved to Texas at 20 years old and have been here 13 years!!!!   It took me a while to get use to Dallas. Honestly, I think I just became a little more country. HA!

Some of the things I really enjoy are travel, hanging out with my family and friends, brunch (I’m a foodie!), going to church and Christian events. I love to try new things within reason (not trying to die! lol). I also really enjoy the ballet, R&B music, some rap, worship, and gospel music.
My friends think I’m funny, probably because I tend tell the truth without a filter and I add a little drama. The truth can be a bit funny!

 Here is my most memorable nursing story: A homeless middle aged AA gentleman with HTN was unable read. We spent a great deal of time creating symbols to put on his bottles to help him be compliant. Time with him meant a lot.
Here is my craziest nursing moment: A patient literally stood up, pulled down his pants and pooped in the chair while I was getting his vital signs. And this was no small amount of poop either! Yuck!

The things we deal with every day can be incredible grueling tasks, but in the end it is all worth it to make a difference in someone's life!

Monday, July 23, 2018

TPCN Spotlight: Veronica Stoller, South Texas Poison Center Director

1.  Tell me your history with poison control. How long have you worked there/what is your background:

I have been with the South Texas Poison Center since early 2018.  Before this appointment I was working with the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.   I have been working in various operations and administration roles in the public and private sector for the last 20 years. I am excited to be a part of the Texas Poison Control Network.

2.  What do you think is one of the most important aspects of poison control services?

The most important aspect of the poison control service is a role that specialists in poison information (SPI) play as direct service providers in emergency situations.  Through poison centers the public has access to our experienced and knowledgeable healthcare practitioners.  Our team of SPIs offer poison prevention and treatment advice in English and Spanish.

3.  What do you enjoy most about your job and why?

I enjoy my job because I am making a difference in someone’s life every day.  I have the privilege of working with a great team to achieve the mission of the South Texas Poison Center (STPC) and the Texas Poison Control Network (TPCN). As a team, we serve thousands of people a year with a strong service commitment and dedication to the community. My role is to ensure that service operations of the center are efficient and effective. I have a unique opportunity to guide the organization and provide a vision for the future by creating strategies and infrastructures. 

4. What do you think the public needs to know regarding poison control?

I think the public needs to know that the poison centers are staffed with certified medical practitioners.  The value that their knowledge and experience brings to the center is significant.  I would also like them to know that our teams truly get invested in every call and ensuring the communication of accurate healthcare information to improve the outcomes in each specific case.

5.  Share a funny story here that might have happened on the job.

As a new Director there have been plenty of funny and frustrating first experiences. The most recent happened when I was scheduled to attend my first CSEC meeting in Austin.  I had my directions and parking information on hand.  I timed my travel to ensure that I would arrive on time. Once I arrived to the CSEC building I could not find the parking garage and did not have much time to spare.  I called the office they reiterated the directions but I still could not locate the parking area. After a few times (estimating about 4 times) around the building, I finally saw the entrance.  If you have never visited the building, the entrance to the parking garage actually slopes down underneath the building but it is masked by the public sidewalk. There is no garage entrance sign as one would expect.  Needless to say, I parked, made my way up to the offices and with only a few minutes to spare-another crisis averted!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Beware of Rattlesnakes this Time of Year!

The Texas summer heat is in full effect, and it is important to be aware of snakes in rural and wildlife areas, and particularly rattlesnakes. Since many people enjoy hiking, biking and other outdoor activities during the summer months, there is an increased chance of running into rattlesnakes.

Encountering a rattlesnake in the wild can be a scary experience, but it is important to stay calm and give the snake plenty of space. You want to make sure there are at least five feet between you and the snake at all times.  While rattlesnakes are venomous, the good news is that if you leave it alone, it will most likely leave you alone too. If you have children or pets with you when you come in contact with a snake, make sure to protect them by keeping them as far away from it as possible.

Recently, people have found rattlesnakes in their backyards hiding under shrubs, piles of debris and anything else they can easily hide under. While it might be tempting to get close to the snake to get a better look or even try to kill it, it is better to give it space and leave it alone.  Approaching a snake will only increase your chances of getting bitten.  Contact a professional to remove the snake if it’s in your property. It is important to remind the professional when they come out to remove the snake to also to check the rest of your yard for other snakes, just to make sure.

If you get bitten by a rattlesnake, call 911 or get to a hospital right away! Call poison control while help arrives or while on your way to the hospital at 1-800-222-1222. 

Initial symptoms may include:

      Bloody discharge from wound


      Progressive swelling starting at the bite sites

      Burning and redness

      Dizziness and/or blurred vision

      Nausea and vomiting


      Fainting or convulsions


Don’t wait for symptoms to show up, get help right away! 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Beware of Toxic Algal Blooms While at Lakes or Rivers this Summer

Harmful algal blooms, also known as blue-green algae, which are polluting lakes, rivers and swimming holes throughout the U.S, are a growing problem- here in Texas as well. Usually algal blooms are easy to spot as they turn water smelly and slimy, so most of the time parents should be able to determine if the water looks safe to let children or pets play in it. Below is some information that can help you you’re your family safe this summer:

It can sometimes be difficult to identify algal blooms just by looking at a pond, river, or lake. Scientists and public health officials use specialized tests to identify these harmful algal blooms, and to determine when the risk of algal toxins has passed.
If the water looks like some type of green soup, it is most likely full of this nasty bacteria. This blue - green algae is an ancient organism that is a type of bacteria called cyanobacteria, which can grow wherever there is water.  This bacteria containing cyanobacteria can make people sick through the toxic substances they produce.

These cyanotoxins can cause:

·         Rashes
·         Itching
·         Vomiting
·         Diarrhea and headaches
·         And, in rare cases, can cause seizures, paralysis and liver failure, which can be deadly

Such severe poisonings are rare, but children are most at risk. Even if they don’t swim in the contaminated water, children are especially vulnerable to cyanotoxins. Children could potentially inhale cyanotoxins when playing along the shoreline, boating or by splashing water. Small children are known to put their hands in their mouth after touching just about anything, including this contaminated water. Teens should also be made aware of this as they aren’t always careful about where they swim.   

Symptoms can develop within hours of exposure. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect you or your child has been exposed to a harmful algal bloom. Physicians can report algal poisoning events to state agencies that test water and post warning signs. Keep in mind, harmful algal blooms aren’t just a problem in freshwater – they can also be found in salt water and brackish water.

So be careful out there this summer and if you come in contact with anything poisonous, please contact the Texas Poison Network at 1-800-222-1222.

TIP!  Read and follow any posted warnings. If the lake or pond looks green or another strong color such as blue, yellow or brown, it should most likely be avoided. The water could contain harmful cyanotoxins.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Poison Prevention Week Wrap Up

Poison Prevention Week Wrap up from around Texas!
Back in March we celebrated Poison Prevention Week and all month long educators worked extra hard to educate the public on the importance of using poison control when you need it. Below is a wrap up of various center activities! Remember, if you ever need poison control, call 1-800-222-1222.
North Texas Poison Center
During National Poison Prevention Week 2018, the North Texas Poison Center at Parkland focused on raising awareness and reducing the incidence of unintentional poisonings, whether from accidental overdoses of acetaminophen, intentional use of dangerous opioids, and all other exposures to potentially toxic substances.
North Texas Poison Center Regional Winner of Poster Contest
Education is a key focus of the center. During NPPW18, NTPC educators presented 4 community education programs, made 4 local media appearances, awarded prizes for both the NTPC regional poster & video contests, and participated in 12 community outreach events.
NTPC also held their 14th Annual Poison Jungle Safari at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, reaching over 600 individuals with poison prevention information.
Southeast Texas Poison Center

Southeast participated in the PPW Poster contest, a cartoon contest, and Facebook video contest. They also had a table set up for the whole week at the City Hall of Texas City with Poison Center materials. The educator did a presentation at Stay and Play Child Care Center and had a table set up and attended it the whole day on Tuesday at Houston Northwest Hospital.
On Wednesday, the educator had a table and attended it the whole day at the Public Library in Brookshire. On Thursday, the educator presented the Facebook video contest winners with their prize and made a video and took pictures. Lastly, on Friday the educator had a table and attended it the whole day at Channel View High School.
Texas Panhandle Poison Center

Texas Panhandle Poison Center celebrated Poison Prevention Week with a very successful Medication Cleanout™ in Amarillo, TX.  During a 4-hour period, 637 vehicles drove through to drop off medications. They collected over 2,000 pounds of medications!
The goals of Medication Cleanout™ are to prevent poisonings, prevent abuse, and prevent misuse while protecting the environment.  People gather medications from their homes that they no longer want or need and then they drive through at the Medication Cleanout™ event where trained volunteers accept them.  The medications are disposed of in an environmentally friendly way and are no longer available for poisonings, abuse, or misuse.
We also had the pleasure of presenting for four different Head Start groups during the week.
Central Texas Poison Center
The regional educator had several presentations and Otto readings at Elementary schools. The center also held its annual Poison Safety Safari at the Cameron Park Zoo. Lastly, the educator did a KWTX morning news appearance to promote poison control.
West Texas Poison Center

Winner State Poster from West Texas Poison Center
During National Poison Prevention Week 2018, the West Texas Regional Poison Center focused on raising awareness of our national 800 number by participating in several health fairs and presentations throughout the week.  One of the most successful was at the military base (Fort Bliss).

We brought the animals out and met with military families to teach them about the potential dangers of living in the dessert.  We even had a picture cut out for families to take photos (picture below).  We reached over 500 people of all ages on that one day alone.  We also participated in the state poison prevention poster contest, held tours for young people to meet our poison center staff, posted information on social media, and attended city council and county commissioners meetings to receive local proclamations and resolutions in celebration of poison prevention week 2018.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Raise Awareness during Poison Prevention Week 2018

This week marks Poison Prevention Week 2018 and the Texas Poison Center Network is here to help educate & keep your friends and family poison-free!  In 1961, the United States designated the third full week of March as National Poison Prevention Week, a week dedicated to teaching, educating and raising awareness about poisonings. This year marks the 56th year and acts as a reminder that poisonings are currently the leading cause of injury related death in the country. But as with most injuries, many can be prevented and for those that aren’t, a poison expert is only a phone call away and ready to assist you.

Each year 250,000 calls regarding potential poisonings are received by Texas poison centers alone. In 2016, poison centers in the US received approximately 2,159 million calls on poison exposures. That’s one poison exposure call every 14.6 seconds! Roughly 56% of these calls were human exposure cases involving drugs and medications. Other exposures included household and personal care products, plants, mushrooms, pesticides, animal bites and stings, carbon monoxide, and many other types of non-pharmaceutical substances. Although exposure by ingestion accounted for 79% of these cases, people were also exposed to potentially dangerous poisons through other routes like the lungs, skin, and eyes.
Shockingly, more than 90% of the poisoning deaths occurred among individuals over the age of 20 and involved medications/drugs. This is actually the most common exposure among adults and a good majority of these involved opiates. According to the Centers for Disease Control, opioid overdoses have quadrupled in the U.S. since 1999.

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 without wanting to cause themselves harm.

Poisonings are more common than you think. Currently, more than two million poisonings are reported each year to poison centers in the US. And according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), approximately 90 percent of these poisonings are happening at home, with 51%of them involving children under the age of six.

Here are some poison facts and tips to remember:
  • In children ages six and younger, the most common exposures are to medicines, personal care and cleaning products.
  • Child-resistant packages are not childproof. Most two-year olds can open a child-resistant container in 3 minutes or less.
  • Calling 1-800-222-1222 from anywhere in the United States will connect you to your 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 often mistake tiny pills for yummy candy.
  • Get fuel burning appliances checked yearly and make sure working carbon monoxide detectors are installed in your home and checked twice 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 potentially poisoned, always remember to first remain calm. Then immediately call the toll-free Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Follow all the instructions you are given by the poison control specialist. Many times, the poison control specialist will call back to make sure that things are okay and there is no need for further assistance. For more information on accidental poisonings and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones, please visit the Texas Poison Center Network website at