Friday, October 15, 2021

What You Should Know When It Comes to Ivermectin Use in People

Since the pandemic started, people have been trying their best to stay healthy and not catch COVID-19. In recent months there has been a lot of information shared online and within the media about the use of ivermectin in humans. Some information is factual while other information is not. In this blog, we cover the basics of ivermectin and what you should know.

What is Ivermectin?

Ivermectin is a medication primarily used in animals to kill parasites in the stomach. Many states require a prescription to purchase it, but in Texas, you can find this at a local feed store for horses and cattle (these are NOT approved for human use). When it comes to the use of this drug in humans, ivermectin is only FDA-approved as a prescription antiparasitic that assists in treating river blindness, strongyloidiasis, and onchocerciasis. A topical form can also be used to treat rosacea and head lice. Currently, it is not approved for the treatment of COVID-19.

Since the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 has been circling the internet, many have purchased ivermectin for use. The Texas Poison Center Network has received many calls. Some cases have resulted in severe toxicity. Toxicity can cause these symptoms:

·       Nausea and Vomiting

·       Diarrhea

·       Headache

·       Dizziness and Fatigue

·       Visual Changes

·       Skin Rashes

·       Low Blood Pressure

      Fast Heart Rate

In more severe cases, it can cause coma, seizures, hallucinations, and tremors. So, what is causing individuals to overdose on ivermectin? If you were to purchase ivermectin at a feed store, it might come in a paste format (usually flavored, too!). Keep in mind, this paste format is highly concentrated. Ivermectin is made for a horse or cow, weighing practically a ton more than the average human being. High doses such as this, when used in humans, are highly toxic.

If you or a loved one has come in contact with ivermectin, please reach out to the poison center for help. We have nurses and pharmacists who answer the phone around the clock. Take the time to save this number on your phone: 1-800-222-1222

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Dangers Associated with Blue-Green Algae

Recently, there has been more concern regarding blue-green algae and its effects on pets and, specifically, children. Blue-green algae can be found in standing water, like lakes, ponds, and other water systems known to be more stagnant.

What is Blue-Green Algae?

Blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, grows in various bodies of water, especially nutrient-rich water. They get their name from their ability to create blooms so thick that it resembles blue-green paint covering the top of the water.

There are two forms of this type of algae (Anabaena and Microcystis) in Texas. Both conditions can cause taste and odor problems in the water. They also create toxins that are poisonous to fish and various other wildlife that drink the contaminated water. There have also been some occurrences of humans getting sick from insufficiently treated water.

It is best to avoid contact with water with visible algal growth.   Swimming in contaminated water and potentially swallowing it can be hazardous. If you are exposed, make sure to wash it off the skin thoroughly and dry the area as soon as possible.  

What are common symptoms of Blue-Green Algae poisoning?

If you suspect someone has ingested or come in contact with blue-green algae, don't hesitate to get in touch with the experts at the Texas Poison Center Network by calling 1-800-222-1222.

Common symptoms can include:

·       Headache

·       Stomach pains

·       Skin, eyes, nose, and throat irritation

·       Vomiting and diarrhea

·       Muscle weakness

·       Dizziness

For more information on blue-green algae and other poisonous substances, please visit the Texas Poison Center Network website at www.poisoncontrol.org

Friday, July 16, 2021

Dry Scooping and Why It is Not a Good Idea


A new challenge has surfaced on the internet having to do with a term called dry scooping. Various people on the internet have recorded themselves doing this as a challenge and then posting it on TikTok. This challenge is dangerous and not worth trying for likes or views. Here is what it is all about:

What is dry scooping?

Dry scooping It refers to taking a scoop of pre-workout powder (or sometimes protein powder) that is meant to be mixed with water, putting the scoop in their mouths, and swallowing it.

What are the potential concerns?

Worst case scenario, and it has already happened, is that it could kill you. When you’re consuming a concentrated blend of multiple ingredients, it is hard to tell how your body will react. Ingredients such as caffeine, creatine, B-vitamins, NO2-boosters, taurine, and branch chain amino acids, contribute to the potential dangers of this challenge. These individual ingredients can be safe in healthy people when taken as directed, meaning they've taken in the recommended serving and preparation.

However, even common ingredients such as caffeine can be a danger if taken in excess, causing jitteriness, an upset stomach, and an elevated heart rate, especially when taken undiluted and/or in greater amounts than directed.

There is no benefit to dry scooping, and individuals should refrain from attempting this TikTok challenge.

What if I try this and have unwanted effects?

If someone feels ill in any way after trying this challenge or any other social media challenge, do not hesitate to contact the poison center for help. All calls are answered by pharmacists, nurses, and toxicologists 24/7, seven days a week. Call us at 1-800-222-1222 and let us help you with your poison needs.

 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Pool Chemicals Should Always Be Kept Out of Reach


To keep pools clean, pool chemicals are added to the water to remove germs and bacteria. While these chemicals assist in keeping the water healthy for recreational use, they can be extremely dangerous if they are not handled or appropriately stored up and away from children.

Pool chemicals, such as chlorine and bromine, are added to protect swimmers from the spread of germs and prevent outbreaks. Other pool chemicals help disinfect, improve water quality, stop corrosion and scaling of equipment, and protect against algal growth. Keep in mind, pool chemicals can injure people when mixed, when not used according to label instructions, or when appropriate personal protective equipment is not used.

Here are some valuable tips to makes sure you and your family stay safe this summer and avoid chemical pool injuries.

·       Keep chemicals away from children by storing them up and away from a child’s reach.

 

·       When handling pool chemicals dress appropriately by wearing safety goggles and gloves or other protective gear.

 

·       Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area so that you do not breathe in any toxic fumes.

 

·       Follow the directions on the products exactly to minimize exposure or chemical accidents.

 

Remember, if you come in contact with pool chemicals or believe you might have been poisoned, please contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. For more information on pool chemical safety, please visit the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/index.html.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

TPCN SPI SPOTLIGHT: Dallas SPI Ivan Barinas


1. Tell me your history with poison control and how you became a SPI. (Length of time worked there/background/passion for this, etc.)

My story with PCC started when a friend spoke to me about what a great experience had been working as a SPI. I honestly had no clue poison centers even existed, but after researching a bit about it I knew it could a great growing opportunity if I was given the slightest of the chances to serve as a SPI. 

Because of my medical background, I wanted to feel useful to society using what I've worked most of my life for, and what a great experience has been so far. I cannot find more words of gratitude towards life for allowing me to have this experience. I've only been here for almost 2 months now, but it feels like I was meant to be here from the very beginning. 

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.

I kind of always knew suicide rates were among the highest it's ever been since all this pandemic situation started, but you always get those rates from news sources, but when you have to be the one, they call to report on these cases, it's tough to assimilate the information at first. I remember not long ago, maybe one week ago, I received a call from a HCF about this 10-year-old girl taking a whole bottle of her mother's med Flexeril, trying to harm herself, and that story stuck with me for a few days. Luckily, the girl managed to survive the intent, but it made me ponder on how our youth is in desperate need of guidance. 

3. What do you think people need to know about the people who answer the phones for poison control?

I honestly don't know the answer to this question, but if I may say something it is that maybe people don't realize how important our job is and how our decisions and recommendations make a real impact on people's lives. Maybe with time, I'll be able to answer this question in more detail. 

4. What do you enjoy most about your job and why?

The unexpected, for sure.  I was longing for some thrill. 

5. Why do you think it is important for people to have poison control as a resource for emergency help?

It is important because we are the first line of defense, in many ways. 

When people call desperate for help, we get to be the ones to give a calming or soothing word, tell them that things will be ok, or maybe not some much ok, but we get to tell them what to do in X or Y situations, so the outcomes could be better than they could have been without our help. 


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Why It is Critical for Parents to Know the Poison Control Number

 

We never truly know when a poison emergency will occur. It only takes one fast-moving baby and a bottle of gummy vitamins left out, for trouble to show up. Although many bottles have child-resistant lids, none of them are childproof. Accidents do happen, and that is why the Texas Poison Control Network exists- so that we can assist you in a poison emergency.

When we worry about poisons in the home, we automatically think of items you would usually find underneath a sink like cleaners and disinfectants. We do not always think about all the poisons that could potentially be floating around in mom or grandma’s purse, such as make-up and medications.  Once children get in these, they almost automatically put them in their mouths. That is why it is important to have potential poisons, of any kind, locked up and out of reach of children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 300 children are treated each day in an emergency room for a poison-related emergency. Most of the time, a call to a poison center for help would have saved them time and money. Save yourself a trip and call this number during a poison emergency: 1-800-222-1222. It will quickly connect you with a registered nurse, pharmacist, or physician, specially trained to help. 

Here are some quick and easy tips that can help:

·       Always be prepared: Save the Poison Help number in your phone.

·       Poison proof any room where your child spends time in, such as bedrooms, living room, and even the backyard.

·       Ensure your medications have child-resistant caps and put them out of sight and out of reach.

·       Keep your purse out of reach too!

·       When giving medication, make sure to follow directions and provide exact dosing as indicated on the label.  You never want to give more medication than what is recommended. 

·       Keep hazardous chemicals and items out of reach, such as disinfectants, pool cleaners, or insecticides. All these items can be incredibly dangerous for children if ingested.

Remember to call the poison center before googling for help. Simply because it is on the internet does not always make it true or the best course of action.  Turn to the experts for advice instead. Get the right answers you need when you need them, free of charge. The poison centers in Texas receive hundreds of calls each day and save people thousands of dollars, time, not to mention peace of mind- let us do the same for you.  Call us at 1-800-222-1222 next time you have a question or a poison emergency!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Take Advantage of National Drug Take Back Day on April 24, 2021


Do you have unused or expired medications at home lying around in cabinets that should no longer be used? Holding onto old or unused medications is not a good idea because all medications have an expiration date.  Not only should they not be used once expired, but if not disposed of, the wrong person could get a hold of them and potentially be poisoned. Now is the time to spring into action by cleaning out your medicine cabinets and getting rid of all your unneeded and/or expired medications.

On April 24th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is sponsoring a nation-wide drug take-back and in Texas, the Texas Poison Center Network is doing their part to assist. Safety is our number one concern! The National Prescription Drug Take-Back initiative addresses an important public safety and health issue. Prescription drugs that sit in medicine cabinets for a long period of time tend to be susceptible to misuse. By disposing of them properly and responsibly, this ensures that our families and communities are safer when it comes to prescription drug misuse.

Since the pandemic began over a year ago, prescription drug misuse is extremely high. By turning in unused and expired medications, you can help eliminate some of the potential for prescription misuse. Remember, medications should not be flushed down the toilet, unless it is indicated on the label, because they can affect the clean water supply. Instead of throwing unwanted or unneeded medications in the trash (where kids or others could get to them) or flushing them down the toilet (where it could contaminate the water), head to your nearest medication take-back location or pharmacy and drop them off.

Drug take-back days provide people with a free convenient way to dispose of medications in an environmentally responsible and safe way, and help keep the community safer too. For more information on this initiative or to find a collection site near you, please visit https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.

You can also call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 to gain more information on the safest way to dispose of medication and the best ways to store medication safely.  

Drug Take Back Video: https://www.facebook.com/SoutheastTXPC/videos/776145326342511