Friday, August 30, 2019

Be Prepared, Not Scared, During National Preparedness Month

With hurricane season upon us, it’s a great time to be reminded of why being prepared for a national disaster is so incredibly important. September is National Preparedness Month, which promotes family and community disaster and emergency planning now and in the future. This year’s theme is “Prepared, Not Scared”, and the Texas Poison Center Network wants you to know we are here to help with any questions you may have during natural disasters.  See the tips below that will help you create a kit to keep you and your family safe. 

Emergency preparedness involves four important steps:
  • Get or create a disaster preparedness kit (Check out this list from   
  • Make a plan so your family knows what to do when a disaster happens; then practice this plan with your family. (Check out this family communication plan from FEMA which is available in multiple languages:
  • Sign up for alerts in your area and preparedness tips from FEMA (Follow this link for more information: 
  • Get involved in preparing your community (The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster have worked tirelessly to assist communities since 1970 that are affected by disasters; learn how you can help by visiting their website at this link: 

How can the Poison Centers help during disasters? 

 If there is concern regarding a chemical or biological attack, the staff at each of the poison centers has widespread knowledge of healthcare resources and works closely with hospitals to ensure that patients receive the necessary treatment. Experts are able to identify what antidotes can help, as well as provide education to both the public and healthcare professionals.
 Poison center staff handles acute and chronic poisonings, including environmental and occupational exposures on a daily basis. This is a helpful resource because the specialists in poison information who answer your calls have expertise in toxicology.
 Poison centers collect data. The data collection system can assist in the detection of diseases and help track individuals who might have been exposed to a hazard. 
 Poison centers assist in alleviating fears. As a 24 hour resource, you can contact them at any time with concerns or issues. No question is too small and the poison specialists are happy to assist with any and all poison-related calls.  

The Poison Help Hotline is such an important resource to the community and the best part is it’s available 24/7 for FREE! Call 1-800-222-1222 and put your mind at ease when dealing with any natural disaster, emergency, or any other poison related issue. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Back to School Poison Control Safety

Back to school means prepping! It may start with purchasing new school supplies and maybe even some new clothes in order to get back into the swing of learning! But it also means making sure you are prepared for poison emergencies.

Here are some tips from the Texas Poison Center Network to make sure this school year stays poison-free:

1.  Medications- Unfortunately, most poisonings involve medications. Remember, it is never a good idea to send medications in your children’s backpack. If you child needs to take medication during the day, talk to the office staff about the school’s policy on bringing and administering medications. For older children, remind them to never take any medication offered to them or that is not prescribed to them. Let your children know that one of the risks of sharing medications is not always knowing what is in the medication that is being shared. Always keep medications locked, out of sight and out of reach of children.

2.    School Supplies- It is a good idea to sit down with your young children and remind them that supplies they use at school such as crayons, glue, markers, and glitter should be kept out of their
mouths and should only be appropriately as the teacher has them do. It is important to educate older children on the potential danger of ingesting or inhaling some of these items simply because a friend dared them, etc.

3.    Cleaning Supplies- While most cleaning supplies in classrooms are out of reach of children, some are accidentally left in an area that is within reach and can be dangerous for children if ingested. This includes items like hand sanitizer. While hand hygiene is important to reduce the spread of bacteria, it is also important for adults to monitor it’s use, since it contains alcohol and other ingredients that can cause intoxication, vomiting or worse.

4.    Program the Poison Control Helpline in your phone. If you suspect a poison emergency, please contact 1-800-222-1222. Commit the number to memory and try to teach your kids the number as well. You never know when you might need it!

The TPCN hopes your children have a great school year and stay safe from poisonings of any kind. But if you do find yourself needing poison control, remember poison control experts are available to provide assistance and advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays so never be afraid to reach out for help.