Tuesday, May 24, 2016
As we make our way through spring and soon head into the summer months, mosquito season is in full force. Mosquitoes are known to carry the Zika virus which can cause fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The Zika virus infection is most dangerous for pregnant women because it can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects.
This spring has been filled with heavy rains, which means the mosquitoes are more rampant than ever. The Texas Poison Center Network wants you to know what you can do to help eliminate being infected by the Zika virus. Here are a few steps you can take to help eliminate mosquitoes breeding around your home:
· Remove standing water, as this is where mosquitoes breed. This includes pet water bowls, flower pots, buckets, birdbaths, trashcans, and rain barrels. Once a week, remove standing water around your home and wash out the container the water was in. This way you also get rid of any mosquito eggs waiting to hatch.
· If you need to store water outside, make sure it is covered with a tight lid to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in it.
If you are finding lots of mosquitoes already around your home, follow these steps to help eliminate your chances of being bitten:
· Wear long sleeved shirts and pants.
· Stay inside
· Use insect repellents with DEET and make sure to follow directions on the bottle. (DEET repellent is not recommended for younger than two months of age)
If you are pregnant, check out this link from the CDC that contains important steps to take to stay free of the Zika virus: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pdfs/zika-pregnancy.pdf.
If you have questions about the Zika virus, or you are concerned you might have contracted it, contact the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Back in 2013 we wrote a blog on the risks of colorful laundry detergent packs to children (You can read the blog here). Unfortunately, these laundry packs are still a concern to children. In 2016, through April 30, poison centers received 3,795 exposure calls involving these highly concentrated packets of laundry detergent by children 5 and younger in the United States.
These single-dose detergent capsules have a candy-like appearance and consist of a highly concentrated liquid that dissolves when in contact with water. Due to their colorful nature, they are attractive to children and can become a danger to young children in the home.
|Example of Laundry Packs and How
Similar they look to Candy
If a child were to put the laundry detergent pack into his/her mouth, it could cause the packet to burst. This can result in the child becoming ill and possibly even needing hospitalization. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), some children who have gotten the product in their mouths have had excessive vomiting, wheezing and gasping. Some get very sleepy while others have had breathing problems serious enough to need a ventilator to help them breathe. There have also been reports of corneal abrasions (scratches to the eyes) when the detergent gets into a child’s eyes.
According to poison control officials, there has already been at least two fatalities from the ingestion of these laundry packs. They can be very dangerous for children and poison officials are urging parents of young children to avoid using the packets. By following the tips below, parents can eliminate the worry of their children ingesting them.
Here are some tips on how to keep these out of your child’s reach:
- Keep detergent locked up, out of sight and out of their reach.
- Always follow instructions on a product label.
- If the doorbell or phone rings when you’re using the detergent pods, take them with you or put them out of the child’s reach first. Don’t turn your back on a child when any poisonous product is nearby. Most poisonings occur when the product is in use.
- If you think your child has been exposed to any laundry detergent, but especially the highly concentrated laundry detergent packs, call your local poison center immediately at 1-800-222-1222.
For more information on these laundry detergent packs, please visit http://www.aapcc.org/alerts/laundry-detergent-packets/ or call 1-800-222-1222.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
High School projects can sometimes be daunting tasks, but the hope is always that the students learn and grow from these projects. For one junior at Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston, poison control became the focus of her Texas Performance Standards Research project for the year and made her realize the importance of poison safety.
When Grace Vollmers chose her project, she set out to address poison education and learning about the different types of poisonings in relations to poisonous plants.“I originally wasn’t planning on going into poison education,” she said. “At first, I was only really interested in the science of poisons, especially poisonous plants. After doing some research on accidental poisoning statistics, it struck me that this information was never really covered in elementary school.”
That’s when Grace set out to create some new curriculum for elementary students. She wanted them to learn about the dangers of poisons and how to stay poison-free. She learned that accidental poisonings are one of the leading causes of death especially for young children.Over the yearlong project, Grace created curriculum for first, second, third, fourth and fifth grade students. She utilized look-a-like activities, scenario activities, and hidden poisonings coloring pages. She also created word searches, word jumbles, a PSA activity and group discussion activities. Each of the activities she created are geared toward the specific age group and they are not only fun but also useful for teaching about poisons.
“Through the course of my project I really learned to appreciate the patience and understanding that elementary school teachers have,” Grace said. “I hope that my product will serve as a valuable resource for schools and teachers in the future, and that it will shed some insight into how to better educate and protect children from the dangers of accidental poisonings.”Interested in finding out more about Grace’s project? Check out her website at the following link and let her know what you think of her project: http://gracevollmers.wix.com/poisonsafetytpsp#!activities/c10d6.
Looking for information on poison control or accidental poisonings? Visit www.poisoncontrol.org today for more information. If you or a loved one might have been poisoned, please do not hesitate to contact the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.