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.
In Texas, we were recently reminded by Hurricane Harvey of
why being prepared for a national disaster is so incredibly important.
September is National Preparedness Month which not only entails making sure
that you are more prepared, but that you also have the right tools in place for
whatever emergency comes your way. The Texas Poison Center Network is here to
help with any questions you have during natural disasters and we hope these
tips will help you create a kit for your family.
Emergency preparedness encompasses four important steps:
can the Poison Centers help during disasters? Here’s a list of ways:
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
center staff handles 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.
centers collect data. The data collection system can assist in detection of
diseases and help track individuals who might have been exposed to a hazard.
This information is vital when it comes to issues of a bioterrorist attack.
centers alleviate fear. As a 24 hour resource, you can contact them at ANYTIME
with concerns or issues that you would like more information about.
Poison Help 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!
Recently, tragedy struck when Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas
coast and made its way inland causing major flooding, power outages, heavy
winds and more. While this disaster is still occurring in some parts of Texas,
many people are already looking for help from caring for their health needs and
traumatic stress issues to thinking of rebuilding and everything in
between.The Texas Poison Center Network is here to
help and can be a great resource that’s just a phone call away at 1-800-222-1222.
After flooding and power outages, citizens should be aware
that local drinking water might not be safe to drink. Make sure to use bottled
water for drinking and cooking or boil water before drinking if bottled water
is not available.This should continue until
notice is given by your city or town leadership that the water is safe to
drink. If you must use boiled water for cooking or drinking, make sure you let
it boil for at least two minutes from when you first begin to see the
bubbles.Make sure the water has
completely cooled before drinking it. When it comes to food, if any of it has
come in contact with flood water, throw it out - do not eat it! It could make
you sick or worse. If you have lost electricity for longer than 4 hours, you
should discard the food that required refrigeration.Remember to always wash your hands with soap
and clean water (boiled or bottled) before eating or drinking anything when you
are busy cleaning up after a flood. You never know what could be in the water
and you want to make sure not to infect your body with any bacteria.
Anytime a natural disaster as devastating as Hurricane
Harvey occurs, it is important to remember the trauma and stress that any
survivors endured.When people lose
their homes, personal belongings, or are put in situations that can be life
threatening, it is normal to experience emotional distress like feelings of worry,
anxiety, trouble sleeping or even depression.Some examples of emotional distress include:
·Fear that storms will get worst even if the
forecast predicts the chances are low.
·Difficulty handling emotions like anger, fear,
anxiety, worry, or difficulty with participating in everyday activities like
cleaning or caring for children.
·Having memories or nightmares of the tragic
events experienced during the storm.
If someone you know is experiencing these symptoms for
longer than two weeks, it is important for them to reach out for help. They can
call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to
66746 for support and counseling needs. The hotline is available 24/7 and is
answered by trained and caring counselors.
·Do not run gas-powered generators or use gas or
charcoal grills indoors. These can cause carbon monoxide to build up indoors
and can be extremely dangerous and even fatal.This is why carbon monoxide is known as the “silent killer”.
·Do not let children play in the flood water. Flood water could be very toxic and can have
animals or debris floating that could be very dangerous.Keep your children safe.
·After a flood, make sure to disinfect all
furniture and household surfaces/items that have been in contact with flood
water. Use a solution of one cup of bleach per five gallons of water and wipe
down all parts exposed.
·If you have a cut or a wound that was exposed to
flood water, there is a risk of contracting tetanus. Make sure you get a
tetanus vaccination if it has been longer than 10 years since your last shot.