Monday, November 24, 2014

Stay Poison Free this Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year where friends and families gather to give thanks for their blessings as well as enjoy lots of amazing food! While we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, we want to make sure you have a safe and poison-free one as well.

As you prepare your feast, please keep these tips in mind:

  • Handle food carefully. Food poisoning usually happens because of poor food handling practices. Symptoms can include fever, headache, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort and vomiting. The guilty party in all food poisonings is bacteria, which enters our bodies through contaminated food. Wash hands, dishes, utensils, kitchen equipment and work surfaces before and after handling. Be particularly careful around knives, washing them thoroughly after each use. And remember, even frozen food can contain bacteria.
  • Cook food carefully. Salmonella is a common cause of food poisoning and while it’s normally not fatal, it is widespread. It is typically found in raw meats, poultry, eggs, milk, fish and their bi-products. Salmonella can only be destroyed by cooking food thoroughly and with temperatures above 140 degrees.
  • It’s okay to thaw turkey in its original plastic for one to two days. After that, move the turkey to plastic wrap or foil. Don’t keep it in its original wrapping for more than two days.
  • Thaw turkey or poultry inside the fridge, rather than elsewhere in your kitchen.
  • Don’t stuff the turkey in advance and then refrigerate it. The core of the turkey is a perfect place for bacteria to grow. Remove all stuffing before refrigerating leftover meats. Keep the stuffing, gravy or broth in a separate container.
  • Be careful around the booze. Adults, obviously, should always drink responsibly, but in large gatherings, it’s important to be mindful of small children – particularly those who aren’t afraid to pick up discarded cups left behind by adults. Even a small amount of alcohol can poison a child.
  • Also be wary of choking hazards. Peanuts, raisins, hard candies, cocktail sausages and other hors d’oeuvres are tasty additions to any holiday meal, but they can be choking hazards for the littlest partiers. And many pediatricians advise that children under the age of one year avoid nuts, because of the risk of allergies. Keep these foods out of the reach of very young children to prevent a choking incident. 

If you follow these tips, you will surely be on your way to having a wonderful holiday. If you have any concerns or questions regarding poisonings, please do not hesitate to contact us! Commit this number to memory or simply save it in your phone contacts: 1-800-222-1222. We are here when you need us, 24/7.

Friday, November 14, 2014

AAPCC Study Shows Tweens Don’t Know Much about

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) is in its third year of working with the over-the-counter (OTC) Literacy education program which aims at educating 5th and 6th graders on how to safely use OTC medication. The  AAPCC shared two recent surveys of 6th graders and it showed  that tweens to do not know about OTC medication safety and awareness.

 The survey showed only 37% of questions were answered correctly and only 53% of the questions were correct when asked about how to read a Drug Facts label. Through this survey information, we are able to see that tweens need more education regarding OTC medications.

 Here are a few tips to keep in mind when talking to tweens about OTC medication:


·         Read the Drug Facts label- this information is important and provided so that you know the facts about what you are putting in your body.

·         Never take more than the prescribed amount which you can find on the label of the medication.

·         Look at the active ingredients and be careful when taking two OTC medications. For example, Acetaminophen is a common ingredient in many medications.

·          With liquid medications, always follow dosing instructions. The medication cups are provided with the liquid medications for a reason!

·         And as always, remember to store medications up and away from children. Safety first.

 
For more information on the OTC Literacy program please visit http://www.scholastic.com/otcliteracy/.  If you are concerned about a possible poisoning, please do not hesitate to contact your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Safety Equals Fun for All!





It’s that time of year when kids get all dressed up in their favorite Halloween costumes and head out to their neighbor’s homes to collect all kinds of candy as they belt out “Trick or Treat!” Sometimes adults even get in on the fun and dress up too. While Halloween can be an exciting time for kids, it is extremely important that adults be cautious about potential poisonings.   


The Texas Poison Center Network wants you to have a safe and happy Halloween so check out these tips to keep in mind to ensure safe fun for all!

Halloween Safety Tips

ü  Provide your child with a nourishing meal or snack before trick-or-treating.  A hungry child is much more apt to sample treats before returning home.  Candy treats, as well as sweet drinks, eaten while trick-or-treating often contribute to stomach upset symptoms. 

ü  Children should never eat Halloween candy until an adult has inspected it.  Some over the counter medications look exactly like small candies, so never let your children eat unwrapped candy or homemade goodies.  Better to toss something away than take the chance it contains a potentially poisonous substance.  Remember this saying:  “When in doubt, throw it out!”

ü  Ensure that costumes are reflective and that your children carry flashlights or glow sticks. Also, watch out for cars!

ü  Use makeup that is labeled as non-toxic to reduce the risk of skin irritations.  Other products may contain emollients, laxatives, talc and even hydrocarbons that may cause skin irritations. 

ü  Accompany young children at all times and only visit familiar well-lit homes.

ü  Avoid eating fruit and homemade treats unless they are from a trusted source.   

ü  Remember that small items can be a choking hazard: gum, peanuts, hard candy and even small toys.

ü  Remember to keep dogs on a leash at all times.  Dogs can bite if they feel threatened or confused especially when approached by someone wearing a mask or costume.   

 
Most importantly, have fun! If you suspect your child has been poisoned or is having a reaction to a candy, please do not hesitate to contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. They are available 24/7 to provide assistance and help to you when you need it most.

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Camphor: What You Need to Know about the Dangers of this Ingredient

Most people might not be familiar with what camphor is or what products you can find it in. The Texas Poison Center Network wants you to know how this ingredient, if overused, can be poisonous to your body. Camphor can especially be dangerous to children causing seizures if ingested.

What is Camphor?

Camphor is an ingredient that is commonly found in insect or moth repellents, but it can also be found in products used for itching relief and inhalation for upper respiratory congestion. It absorbs rapidly into the body through your skin, respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal tract.
Camphor should never be swallowed, which is why it can be so dangerous for children. If you have any products in your home used for anti-itch, congestion or insect repellents, please make sure to keep these locked up and out of reach of children. Children have ended up hospitalized with seizures after ingesting products with this ingredient.

Symptoms of Camphor Ingestion
Some common symptoms if this product is ingested include:

Ø  Stomach Ache

Ø  Nausea

Ø  Vomiting

Ø  Irritability

Ø  Agitation

Ø  Seizures

 
If you think you or someone you know have accidently ingested camphor, please do not hesitate to contact the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. Experts in toxicology are ready to answer your calls and relieve any concerns 24/7.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

National Night Out: Understanding Poison Control’s Role in Emergency Services




Tuesday, October 7th, marks National Night Out (NNO) in Texas. NNO was created as America’s night out against crime as well as a way to create camaraderie within the community by letting neighbors knows what emergency services are here to help them when they need it most.

Poison Control is an important emergency service that the community should be aware of and understand so they know when to call. Here are just a few ways the poison control hotline can help you and your community.

·         When calling this FREE service at 1-800-222-1222, you have access to a network of nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, and physicians who have extensive education, training and expertise in the field of toxicology or poisoning.

·         The poison control network can help with many issues including drug, medical, occupational, prevention/safety, and environmental information.

·         Even if it is not an emergency but you are still looking for information on poisonings, please feel free to call the poison hotline. Our specialists are not only specially trained to handle poison emergencies but also to provide information that can help prevent a possible poisoning.

On Tuesday evening, make an effort to join a block party, get together with neighbors, have a cookout or even take part in a parade. All these events are created to enhance awareness of services so please take part in your local NNO events!

 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Babies at Texas Hospital Test Positive for TB: What You Need to Know

Recently, five babies tested positive for tuberculosis in El Paso, Texas after coming in contact with a worker at the facility who was infected with the disease. Possibly more than 800 newborns and 40 employees were also exposed to this sometimes deadly disease.

Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is a potentially fatal disease that affects the lungs. It can lay dormant (no signs of infection) for months or years.  Once active, it is spread through coughs, sneezes and speaking in close proximity. Babies can be particularly sensitive to TB because they have weakened or immature immune systems. Older people can also be vulnerable to TB and can become easily infected if they come in contact with an infected individual.

Symptoms of TB include:

  • a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
  • pain in the chest
  • coughing up blood or sputum
  • weakness or fatigue
  • weight loss
  • no appetite
  • chills
  • fever
  • sweating at night

If you think you might have been exposed to TB, please contact your physician. For more information on TB, please visit the Center for Disease Control’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/basics/default.htm. For any questions about poison, please contact the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

National Preparedness Month: How Poison Control Can Help

During the month of September we celebrate National Preparedness Month! While this celebration entails being more prepared, with the right tools in place, you can be assured that you will be celebrating when you are prepared for any emergency that comes your way.

Emergency preparedness encompasses four important steps:

·        Get or create a disaster preparedness kit (Check out this kit list from the CDC: http://www.ready.gov/document/family-supply-list)

·        Make a plan so your family knows what to do when disaster strikes (Check out this family communication plan from FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/34330)

·        Be informed so you know what to do when disaster strikes your area (Sign up for alerts in your area: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/preparedness/informed/)

·        Get Involved in the community preparedness (FEMA shares ways you can get involved: http://www.fema.gov/volunteer-donate-responsibly)

 
How can the Poison Control Centers help during disasters? Here’s a list of ways:

§  In the event of a chemical or biological attack. The staff at each poison center has extensive knowledge of healthcare resources and work with hospitals to ensure that patients get the right treatments needed. Experts are able to identify what antidotes can help and provide education to both the public and healthcare professionals.

§  They handle acute and chronic poisonings as well as environmental and occupational exposures. This is an important resource because specialists in poison information are also experts in toxicology.

§  They collect data. The data collection system can assist in detection of diseases and help track individuals who might have been exposed. This information is vital when it comes to issues of a bioterrorist attack.

§  They alleviate fears. As a 24 hour resource, you can contact them at ANYTIME with concerns or issues that you would like more information about.

 The Poison Control Hotline is such an important resource to the community and the best part is it is available 24/7 for FREE! Call 1-800-222-1222 and put your mind at ease when dealing with any natural disaster or emergency. They are here to help!