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 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:

·        Make a plan so your family knows what to do when disaster strikes (Check out this family communication plan from FEMA:

·        Be informed so you know what to do when disaster strikes your area (Sign up for alerts in your area:

·        Get Involved in the community preparedness (FEMA shares ways you can get involved:

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!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ebola: What You Need to Know and How the Poison Center Can Help

This year we have seen the largest Ebola breakout in history. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the current outbreak is mainly affecting West Africa and does not pose a risk to the United States at this time.

As stated on their website, the CDC has deployed teams of health experts to West Africa to help with this outbreak. It is important to remember that no confirmed cases of Ebola have been reported in the United States. But the Texas Poison Center Network wants you to know they are here to assist with any questions or concerns regarding Ebola.
Ebola can spread to others after symptoms begin. These symptoms can start anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms of Ebola can include:

  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain

If you have any concerns regarding Ebola, please do not hesitate to contact the Poison Control Network at 1-800-222-1222. For all the latest statistics on the Ebola outbreak, please visit here:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Texas Poison Control Network Celebrates 20 Years of Service

The Texas Poison Control Network is celebrating a milestone this year. It has been providing outstanding poison control services for the past 20 years and we could not be more proud!

In 1993 the Texas Legislature established the Texas Poison Control Network which formally began to provide services to the state on September 1, 1994.  Poison center services had previously been provided by individual poison control centers in Galveston and Dallas, while the county hospital’s inpatient pharmacy answered calls in El Paso. 

Establishment of the Texas Poison Control Network ensured that all Texans had access to the highest quality 24-hour toll-free telephone referral and information services. Thanks to these fantastic poison control centers, thousands of lives have been saved and millions of dollars in healthcare costs have been avoided in the process by eliminating unnecessary emergency room visits.

The Texas Poison Control Network is a vital resource to the community and we hope to see these centers provide excellent service to Texans for years to come. Here are some of the many things that poison control centers can help you with- just by dialing 1-800-222-1222!

  • Drug Information and identification (adverse effects,  generic/brand name questions, dosing information, contraindications, drug-drug interactions, medication disposal, etc...)
  • Environmental Information (carbon monoxide, general questions about soil or air contamination,  lead, mercury, mercury cleanup, chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear emergencies, etc...)
  • Medical Information ( poison-related first aid and patient management recommendations, medical toxicology consultations, epidemiological data collection and surveillance, etc...)
  • Poison Information (food poisoning, safe food handling practices, exposures or medication questions or concerns during pregnancy/breastfeeding, plant toxicity, animal bites and stings, safe use and storage of household and  personal hygiene products)
  • Prevention/Safety Information (poison prevention questions, educational presentation requests for the public and healthcare professionals, media consultations, educational materials, pharmaceutical collection events and proper disposal information, etc...)
If you know someone who works for Poison Control, let them know their service is appreciated. Here is a list of the centers celebrating 20 years of excellence service to the State of Texas as the Texas Poison Control Network:

Central Texas PoisonCenter, Baylor Scott & White in Temple

North Texas Poison Center, Parkland Hospital in Dallas

Texas Panhandle PoisonCenter, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in  Amarillo
South Texas Poison Center, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in San Antonio
Southeast Texas Poison Center, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston
West Texas Regional PoisonCenter, University Medical Center of El Paso in El Paso