Friday, January 23, 2015

E-Cigarettes and Children: A Dangerous Combination

A while back, we ran a blog on the dangers of e-cigarettes, but with this issue being a very hot topic in the news currently, we felt it was important to address the issues regarding liquid nicotine. This past December, a one-year-old in New York died after swallowing liquid nicotine which has lawmakers now pushing for stricter regulation on e-cigarettes and how they are made.

E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, are designed to look like real cigarettes except they contain a battery, a heating element and liquid nicotine. These products were initially marketed as a safer alternative to smoking actual cigarettes. But they can be just as dangerous, if not more, if the liquid nicotine is swallowed.  
Nicotine is a poisonous chemical that can be found in the tobacco plant. It causes symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, shakiness, elevated heart rate, and sweating. Nicotine poisoning can even cause death. If a child were to ingest this liquid nicotine, even in very small quantities, it could potentially cause seizures and even death.  This product is very dangerous for children.

Even more alarming, a recent article on NPR states that the vapor produced by e-cigarettes can contain high concentrations of formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen. You read more here:

Here are some tips to keep your home safe from possible nicotine poisoning.
  • Keep all and any nicotine products up and far away from children’s reach.
  • Liquid nicotine should be kept locked up or completely out of the home if children.
  • Keep products in their original containers.
If you or a loved one has accidently ingested liquid nicotine or spilled some on your skin, please do not hesitate to contact the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222. Expert nurses and toxicologists are available 24/7- when you need them the most. Hablamos EspaƱol.

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year’s Resolutions: Keep them Safe and Poison Free

One of the biggest New Year’s resolutions that people have is to lose weight in the New Year. It’s so tempting to either drink something or swallow a pill that will melt the fat away.  However, we need to be aware of several products that may pose some health risks.

Below is a list of some of the most popular forms of losing weight and why they might not be the best choice. Remember, exercise and eating right is the healthiest way to lose weight- there are no quick fixes!
Weight Loss Supplements
Most of these supplements boast about losing weight fast and curbing your appetite. While it might be appealing to a consumer, many times these advertising techniques are untrue. Many supplement companies are not held to any standards so there is no way to know if what you are taking is safe or effective. Some products even claim to be natural but that still does not mean they are safe to take. If you are looking to lose weight, please talk with your doctor or healthcare practitioner first.

Cleanse and Detox Plans
These products state they help you lose weight quickly. But in reality, the weight loss comes from water and stool weight. These cleanses can also be dangerous to your health. They could cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

The acai berry is grown in the Amazon River basin of Brazil.  It is rich in antioxidants.  It also contains iron, calcium, vitamin A and fiber.  Food and beverages are made from the skin, which is only 5% of the berry.  This makes acai products expensive.  Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are less expensive alternatives.  The research evidence connecting acai and weight loss is lacking.

Herbal Teas
Some teas promoted for dieting contain laxatives.  Excessive use may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fainting and dehydration.  Causing diarrhea to reduce calorie absorption is not very effective.  Most of the calorie absorption occurs in the small intestine, but laxatives tend to work on the colon.  A temporary weight loss due to water loss will be reversed once the person drinks something.  Bulk-producing agents are supposed to give a sense of fullness, but there is no evidence that they reduce appetite.

The Facts on Diet Pills

The FDA now lists more than 70 weight loss products that may be harmful and contain undeclared, active pharmaceutical ingredients that include fenproporex, fluoxetine, furosemide, cetilistat, sibutramine, bumetanide, phenytoin and phenolphthalein. Some of these ingredients are not approved for marketing in the United States. Some are prescription drugs that exceed the maximum recommended dosages.  Seizures, heart attacks and strokes are possible.  Beware of claims and have realistic expectations.
Here are three fast, easy New Year's resolutions if you have young children. 1) Get down on the floor at your children's eye level. Find things that can hurt them: dropped pills, batteries, and toy parts; household products in low cabinets ... and get those things up, out of the way. 2) Program our number into your phones. 3) Post the poison center phone number by every phone in your home. Need phone stickers or magnets? Call us at 1-800-222-1222 or go to
If you have any questions about your medications, herbals or dietary supplements, please call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222. Don't guess, be sure! A medical professional will answer your call right away and give you the help you need.