The Texas Poison Center blog is here to provide useful information and tips on dealing with toxins and poisons that we are sometimes unintentionally exposed to in or out of the home. This blog is not meant to replace calling a Poison Control Center. Poison centers offer free medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222.
During the summer months you tend to see more spiders.
One spider, that we don’t see very often but is a very dangerous spider, is the
brown recluse spider also known as the fiddle-back spider. The brown recluse is
a poisonous spider that can cause tissue death at the bite site.Children and adults both can become ill when
to Recognize a Brown Recluse
This type of spider is very unique. While most spiders
have eight eyes, a brown recluse only has six. Its coloring consists of a sandy
brown with the violin-shaped marking being a little darker than the rest of its
body. You will also see many fine, short hairs on its body.
Can You Find a Brown Recluse?
These spiders like to build webs in dark places that
haven’t been recently disturbed. Here are some examples of places you might
find them: rotting bark, attics, basements, closets, behind pictures, shoes,
cardboard boxes, garages, etc. A person might not always be aware that they have been
bitten, because the initial bite does not always hurt right away. Here are some
symptoms that could occur from a brown recluse bite:
of the Skin around the Bite
you think you or a loved one might have been bitten, please do not hesitate to
contact your local Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for free expert
advice, 24 hours a day.
Powdered caffeine is a new item on the market that can be
extremely dangerous. It is important for parents, teachers and consumers to be
aware of this product.
Recently, the death of an Ohio teenager prompted the Food
and Drug Administration to warn consumers about the dangers of consuming pure
powdered caffeine sold online. Even a teaspoon of the powder could be lethal.Shockingly, one teaspoon is equivalent to roughly
25 cups of coffee.
Since the recent death of an 18-year-old boy, the FDA is
now investigating caffeine powder and is considering taking regulatory action.
To keep loved ones safe, please keep this information in
is unregulated, cheap and easy to buy.is
unregulated, unlike caffeine added to soda. Those who drink coffee, tea or soda
may be aware of caffeine's less serious effects, like nervousness and tremors,
and may not realize that the powdered form is a pure chemical. The difference
between a safe amount and a lethal dose of caffeine in these powdered products
is very small, according to FDA officials. Symptoms of caffeine overdose or
toxicity include rapid or erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea and
disorientation. Please share this information with your friends and family. For
questions, call the experts at 1-800-222-1222. Caffeine powder is considered
a dietary supplement therefore it is not subject to FDA regulations.
be lethal even in small doses.
overdose symptoms can be very serious. Symptoms can include: rapid or erratic
heartbeat, vomiting, confusion, diarrhea, trouble breathing, hallucinations,
you or a loved one has ingested too much of this powdered caffeine or for more
information, please contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. We’re here to answer your
Summertime is upon us- the heat is rising and the
mosquitoes are everywhere!Mosquitoes
are known as insects that can bite you, leaving a painful and often itchy swell
mark. These tiny little insects have a lot going for them. Not only do they
have chemical and visual sensors that help them find their prey, but mosquitoes
also have heat sensors.
With all these sensors, it is not a surprise that people
get bitten by mosquitoes more often than not. While most mosquito bites are
harmless, in rare cases they can cause a large area to swell significantly, be sore
and very red. If you have any questions from a mosquito
bite, please call your poison control center for more information at
ways to avoid mosquito bites include wearing long-sleeved clothing and
eliminating any standing or stagnant water around your home. Standing water
creates a breeding ground for these pesky insects. Another good tip is limiting
your time outdoors in the evening time as that is when they are most prevalent.
are some “fun” facts about mosquitoes:
·Mosquito is Spanish for “little fly”
·Only female mosquitoes bite
Remember, the Texas Poison Control Network is here to
help you! If you find yourself in any possible poisoning situation, or have a
question about poison, please do not hesitate to call 1-800-222-1222 for free expert advice, 24 hours a day!
As many people know, in order to help keep pools clean, chemicals
are added to the water to kill germs and bacteria. While these chemicals help
keep the water healthy for recreational use, they can be extremely dangerous if
they are not handled or stored properly away from children.
A recent study by the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) showed almost 5,000 emergency visits in the year 2012 were
associated with pool chemical poisonings. The most common poisonings included inhalation
of vapors and fumes. Other common
poisonings include handling pool chemicals without proper use of protective
equipment such as gloves and goggles.
Here are some useful tips to makes sure you and your
family stay safe this summer and avoid chemical pool injuries.
chemicals away from children by storing them up and away from a child’s reach.
handling pool chemicals, dress appropriately by wearing safety goggles and
sure you handle in a well-ventilated area so that you do not breathe in any
the directions exactly to minimize accidents or splashing of chemicals.
Acetaminophen is found in more medications than people
realize. It’s the active ingredient in over 650 different over the counter and
prescription medicines. This medication is primarily used to relieve pain and
reduce fever. It is also combined with other ingredients in various medications
that help treat colds, the flu and allergies.
In prescriptions, you can find acetaminophen combined
with other ingredients that help relieve moderate to severe pain. Recently, the
FDA put out an alert to remind healthcare professionals to stop dispensing
combination drug products that contain more than 325 mg of acetaminophen.
Many times, people will
unknowingly take medications to treat other symptoms not realizing that several
medications they might be taking all have acetaminophen as an active
ingredient. This can cause SERIOUS complications including liver damage if more
than directed is ingested.
Acetaminophen overdose is now the most common cause of
acute liver failure in the United States. Protect your health today by being aware
of what medications you are putting into your body. If you ever think you or
someone you know has taken too much acetaminophen or any other medication,
please do not hesitate to contact the Poison Control Center at
Imagine you are talking to your significant other about a
prescription medication you take that makes you really drowsy. You don’t realize it, but
your teenager is in the next room and overhears you. She hasn’t been sleeping
well lately and she thinks maybe your medication can help her sleep better. She
secretly starts taking your medication at night when she has trouble sleeping.
you consider this safe?
It is important to know that it is NEVER safe to take a
prescription medication that is not prescribed to you. These days, prescription
medications are a lot easier to get a hold of than illegal drugs which makes
teens more inclined to get them. But just because they might be easier to get
does not mean that they are safe to take.
Prescription drug abuse is a major issue facing the
United States today. Not only can it lead to drug poisoning but also drug addiction. Prescriptions most commonly abused include opioids, central
nervous system depressants, and stimulants. These drugs essentially act as
poisons in the body depending on the amount a person ingests. This means
abusing prescription medications can be fatal.
are teens getting these drugs?
Most teens are getting prescription medications from
medicine cabinets of family, friends and acquaintances.A very small portion of teens are getting
them from doctors, pharmacists or over the internet.
can you do to help prevent drug abuse/drug poisonings?
If you are a parent, talk to your kids about medication drug
abuse and the dangers associated with misuse. Teens who learn
about the risks of drug use are 50% less likely to use drugs according to
drugfree.org. It is also a good idea to safeguard medications by keeping them
in a secure place.
If you or someone you know becomes ill from medication
use, misuse or abuse, please contact the Poison Control Center help line for assistance. The
Texas Poison Center Network is available 24/7 to help with any questions or
concerns. All calls are answered by a nurse, doctor or pharmacist. Program this
number into your phone for when you need it: 1-800-222-1222. The call is free,
peace of mind is priceless!
week’s blog will showcase one of our six poison control center managing
directors. Here you will find out why they love their job and why poison
control services are important to them.
Melody Gardner is the North Texas Poison Control Center Managing Director.
Tell me your history with poison control. How long have
you worked there/what is your background: I have a Master’s Degree in Healthcare
Administration and Nursing Administration. I started my career as a Registered
Nurse and then completed training to become a Trauma Nurse Clinician at
Parkland hospital, where I cared for some of the most critically ill trauma and
burn patients in the North Texas area. I have been at the North Texas Poison
Center for four years, starting out as a manager and then moving into my
current position as Managing Director in 2012.
What do you think is
one of the most important aspects of poison control services? The Poison Centers
not only assist with day to day poisoning situations, both in the home and in
health care settings, but we also actively monitor any new trends, such as the
new designer drugs popular amongst teens. Poison Centers are often the ones who
hear of new, dangerous products before anyone else. We also are experts in
disaster preparedness and handle phone calls related to potential dangers at
large events in our area.
What do you enjoy
most about your job and why? As a parent, I know how important it is to
get the quickest, most reliable information to care for your child. I enjoy my
job because by overseeing the operations of the Poison Center, I feel like I
help contribute to making a difference in the lives of the people we serve. I
believe in what the staff at the Poison Center does on a daily basis, because
oftentimes, the relief you can sense from a mother’s voice on the phone is a
reward in itself.
What do you think the
public needs to know regarding poison control? The public should
know that no question is stupid and our highly trained staff is not here to
judge you, they are here to help and offer you the best medical advice they
can. The call is free, peace of mind is priceless! We have doctors, nurses and
pharmacists available 24/7/365.
Share a funny story
here that might have happened on the job. One of our specialists received a call
from a school nurse asking about how to clean up after a student had a case of
smallpox. We questioned her about the case and discussed that it probably
wasn’t smallpox (since that disease has been eradicated in the U.S.) After she
insisted that it was smallpox, our specialist used a code in our computer
system that indicates there was a case of smallpox. About 10 minutes later, I
was receiving phone calls through the real-time surveillance system at the CDC
asking what was going on in Texas with small pox. Needless to say, it made for
an interesting discussion.