Apart from playing a key role in formulating treatment plans for sick patients, poison control centers reduce overall healthcare costs by preventing unnecessary ER visits and hospitalizations. This conserves healthcare resources for those requiring it the most and has proven beneficial especially during the current pandemic.
Friday, September 25, 2020
Monday, September 21, 2020
September is Baby Safety Month. With children at home more than ever, it is even more important that medications and cleaners, just to name a few of the dangers lurking at home, are locked and stored up and away and out of sight of young children. Having babies in the home can be an exciting time. To keep your home safe and fun for the little ones, make sure to follow these important tips from the Texas Poison Center Network.
Poison Safety Tips
· First and foremost, pull out your cell phone and save this number, you never know when you might need it! Poison Center Help: 1-800-222-1222.
· When it comes to measuring medications for babies, always use measuring syringes or dropper provided with the medication from the pharmacist or doctor. Also, always make sure you give them the correct amount.
· Cleaning products, usually stored under cabinets, should be moved to another location that is out of sight and out of reach of young children.
· Remember, once your baby is crawling, he or she can get to anything on the floor. That means you want to ensure there are no dangers within reach (roach bait, rat poison, medications dropped by mistake, etc.)
· Medicine needs to be out of reach and locked up and away too. Is a purse or a nightstand a good place for your medications? Not with a baby or children around. Lock them up somewhere out of reach.
· Children’s medicines, like vitamins and cough syrup, can taste great to kids! If your child can get to these medicines, he or she may take the entire bottle. Keep all medicines locked up and out of reach.
· Check your yard for any poisonous plants or flowers too. You never know what babies will put in their mouth.
These are just a few important tips to help ensure your baby stays poison-free. For more information on poison control and tips for babysitters and more, please visit the Texas Poison Center Network website at www.poisoncontrol.org. And if you EVER find yourself or a loved one in a poison emergency, please do not hesitate to call us for help at 1-800-222-1222.
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final limit on the amounts of arsenic in baby rice cereal. This is the first time the FDA has put any limits on any food that could contain arsenic.
It is widely known that white cereals with certain grains can sometimes contain arsenic, but rice cereals can be much higher. Rice cereals, due to their absorption rate, may contain up to ten times more of the heavy metal.
What is Arsenic?
According to the CDC, arsenic is a naturally occurring element that can combine with either inorganic or organic substances to form many different compounds. Simply stated, inorganic arsenic compounds can be found in soils, sediments, and groundwater. These compounds can happen either naturally or because of mining, smelting, or when using arsenic for industrial purposes. Organic arsenic compounds, on the other hand, are found primarily in fish and shellfish.
Here’s an interesting fact! Back in the day people used inorganic forms of arsenic in pesticides and paint pigment. People also used them thinking they were good for preserving woods as well a way to treat a variety of ailments. Luckily, we know better now and there are laws that restrict using arsenic-containing pesticides, wood preservatives, and medicines.
The Effects of Arsenic on Your Health
According to the CDC, large doses of inorganic arsenic can cause symptoms ranging from nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea to dehydration and shock. Long-term exposure can cause certain medical conditions such as skin disorders, high blood pressure, and even several types of cancer.
The FDA has now established a limit for inorganic arsenic of 100 parts per billion (ppb) in baby food. This is a voluntary limit and unenforceable currently. With the cooperation of makers of these products, we can hope to see arsenic completely out of baby foods. For more information on arsenic in food products, please visit the FDA link here.
If you or a loved one is experience symptoms like these, please reach out to the Texas Poison Center Network for guidance and help. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-222-1222.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
During a pandemic, fears can sometimes get the best of us. Many Americans are cleaning and disinfecting more than ever to ensure they, and their loved ones, stay healthy. Keeping items clean in the home is a good idea but try not to get too creative in how you clean. If you mix certain cleaning supplies, it can be a bad combination.
While most cleaning products are safe when used as indicated, if they are mixed with other products, it can cause a chemical reaction that can result in potentially toxic fumes and even explosions. Remember to ALWAYS read the label and warnings thoroughly. Here is a list of some household items you should never mix:
1. Bleach and Ammonia: When these are mixed together, they can produce a toxic gas called chloramine. This toxic gas can cause irritation to your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs and can even be deadly. If you do accidentally mix these two chemicals together, get out of the room immediately and into fresh air and call the poison center right away.
2. Bleach and Vinegar: Both products are powerful on their own. Mixing bleach and an acid like vinegar can create a chlorine gas that can be very toxic and potentially deadly at high levels. It can cause breathing issues, coughing, and burning/watery eyes.
3. Baking Soda and Vinegar: While these two chemicals mixed together turn into mostly water, if they were contained in a tight container, they could explode.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar: Many people use these two separately to clean fruits and countertops. What you do not want to do is mix these two chemicals together. By combining them in the same container, it creates a peracetic acid. This toxicity can cause irritation to the lungs, eyes, and nose.
5. Bleach and Rubbing Alcohol: These two chemicals together cause a nasty chemical called chloroform. It can cause irritation to your nose and eyes and can be a toxic mix. You are probably seeing a theme here: do not mix anything with bleach!
6. Drain Cleaner and another Drain Cleaner: Never mix two different types of drain cleaners. These are packed with powerful chemicals and if mixed can cause explosive reactions.
7. Pesticides and Water: Some pesticides, when mixed with water, can create a deadly phosphine gas. Make sure to read the labels when using pesticides and follow the directions carefully.
There are many other combinations of chemicals that can be harmful. If you find yourself in a situation where you have mixed chemical agents, either on purpose or by mistake, please do not hesitate to call the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222. They can answer your questions or concerns 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also visit their website at www.poisoncontrol.org.
Monday, August 10, 2020
Vitamin gummies are very popular. If you can find a vitamin, you can most likely find it in gummy
form these days as well. Their similarity in taste and texture to candy gummies can make them very enticing to children. While this encourages children (and adults!) to take their vitamins, it also raises concerns that children might take more than recommended thinking that it is candy. Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S., the Texas Poison Center Network has seen a 55% increase in calls involving children and vitamins compared to the same time last year. That’s why it is incredibly important to keep any vitamin, especially gummy vitamins locked, up and away like you would do with any other medications in your home.
comes to gummy vitamins, they can sometime contain more sugar in them than
vitamin benefits. In other cases, vitamins can be downright harmful to children.
It is not beneficial to children to get more than the necessary number of
vitamins their bodies need, and most children get the nutrients they need from
the food they eat every
day. While vitamins can act as a positive supplement where needed, too much of a vitamin can cause harm.
Here are some examples of what can happen if a child gets too much of a certain type of vitamin:
- Large quantities of Vitamin A can cause brain swelling, vomiting and distorted vision.
- Large quantities of Vitamin D can cause nausea and vomiting as well as liver damage.
- Large quantities of Calcium can cause heart problems.
These are just a few examples of how too much of any vitamin can be harmful. Keeping this
- Put all medicine up and away and out of sight. Most children easily get into medicines of their parents and grandparents.
- Consider where you keep your medicines and vitamins stored. Children get into nightstands and purses very easily
- Save the Poison Help line in your phone: 1-800-222-1222. Put the toll-free number for the Poison Center into your cell phone so you always have it when you need it.
For more information on gummy vitamins or any other type of vitamin or medicine, you can always reach out to the Texas Poison Center Network with your concerns.
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Thursday, June 4, 2020
Monday, May 11, 2020
- Remove the stinger by scraping across the skin with a credit card.
- Apply ice or cool water for 10 to 30 minutes after the sting.
Monday, April 27, 2020
Thursday, April 16, 2020
At the time, companies did not have to tell people much about the ingredients in their products. The secretary asked companies about the ingredients in their products that might be making children sick. She then asked a group of medical professionals to create treatment guidelines for as many products as possible. When doctors had questions, they would call her, and she would read medical advice to them off the note cards.
Soon after, the U.S. Surgeon General ordered copies of her 1,000 index cards to be sent to health departments across the country. From this, the first poison center was founded, and the idea spread throughout the nation.
The poison center will also collect a little bit of personal information from you for your medical chart-your first name, the patient's first name, your phone number and the zip code you are calling from. This information is confidential. This information is important because it helps us to find your case if you need to call us back for any reason.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
- 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 regional poison center.
- Keep all poisons locked up, away 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.
Thursday, March 5, 2020
1. Tell me your history with poison control and how you became a Specialist in Poison Information (SPI).
I graduated from pharmacy school in 1990 and worked in retail pharmacy for 5 years before coming to the Poison Center. During that time, I was diagnosed with undifferentiated spondylarthropy and was unable to stand for a prolonged time due to pain. As a result, I had to find a job where I could sit down. I called the College of Pharmacy to talk to some of my prior instructors to see if they had any ideas for where I might be able to work. Luckily, Doug Borys had called the College of Pharmacy only a few days prior to my call, and he was looking for pharmacists to work at the newly formed Poison Center in Temple. Talk about good timing! I interviewed shortly afterward and have been working here at Poison Center for 25 years this June.
2. I’m sure you hear a lot of interesting stories when answering calls, but what is one story that sticks out in your head that might have been scary but turned out funny and/or everything worked out after the call. One story I recall was a toddler that ingested a bite out of his grandmother’s post-mastectomy prosthetic breast! We assured her it was not toxic but was a choking hazard. The child remained asymptomatic.
3. What do you think people need to know about the people who answer the phones for poison control?
The people at the Poison Center may feel like they are playing a game of 20 questions with you, but rest assured they are only gathering information which will help them to make a well-informed recommendation!
4. What do you enjoy most about your job and why?
The thing I love most about my job is the diversity of calls we get on a daily basis and having the opportunity to help people during a stressful situation.
5. Why do you think it is important for people to have poison control as a resource for emergency help?
I believe having the Poison Center as a resource for emergency help is vital to the growing burden on our emergency rooms. If we can determine that a patient can be monitored at home, it will save both time and money for both the patient and the healthcare system in general.