Friday, March 19, 2021

Poison Prevention Week 2021: Prepare. Prevent. Protect.

It has been an unprecedented past year for everyone, especially Texans. After over a year of working our way through a pandemic and fighting through an ice storm that knocked out over 5 million people’s power for days in February, we can say we have had a tough year.  The Texas Poison Centers have also seen a rise in calls, involving everything from hand sanitizers to different cleaning products, and even carbon monoxide poisoning. All of these calls are a reminder of how important the poison help line is to the community.

National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW) is March 21st-27th, 2021. This year’s theme is Prepare. Prevent. Protect. In 1961, the United States designated the third full week of March as National Poison Prevention Week, a week dedicated to highlighting the dangers of poisonings. Poisonings are currently the leading cause of injury related death in the country.  Keep in mind that most poisonings are preventable. For those that are not, a poison expert is only a phone call away and ready to assist you. Save this number in your phone for when you need it: 1-800-222-1222.

Poison centers are an incredible resource when it comes to major public health emergencies and pandemics that keep families isolated in their homes for long periods at a time.  Poison centers not only assist the public with their poisoning concerns, but they also assist the first responders and hospital personnel while they are dealing with your poison emergency.  They even assist in identifying emerging threats, like new drugs of abuse hitting the streets or potentially dangerous products entering the market.  Poison center personnel also provide countless hours of educational outreach for both the public and healthcare professionals.

Here are some poison facts and tips to remember:

  • 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 local 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.

If you believe you or someone you know has been exposed to a poison, remain calm and immediately call the toll-free Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Follow all the instructions you are given by the poison control specialist. For more information, visit the Texas Poison Center Network website at

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Reminders of What We Learned in 2020

The year 2020 has served as an unparalleled time. The sudden emergence of COVID-19 left many
Americans concerned for their health and wellness. The Texas Poison Center Network (TPCN) has also dealt with the repercussions of the pandemic and we’d like to share with you some of the top poison calls of 2020 in Texas.

  • Hand Sanitizers: With over 2,500 calls involving hand sanitizer, it is safe to say people were using this more than ever in an effort to stay germ-free. An increase in use, makes for more potential accidents involving children getting into the sanitizers or other potential misuse. Hand sanitizers often contain alcohol, such as ethyl alcohol, an active ingredient that works as an antiseptic. Additionally, hand sanitizers often include other ingredients such as water, fragrance, and glycerin. For a list of unsafe hand sanitizers to avoid, visit this FDA link. Read more on hand sanitizer safety at our Hand sanitizer blog.
  • Bleach and Cleaning Supplies: Texas Poison Centers received over 4,000 calls regarding bleach this year. Many of the calls involved the mixing of bleach with another cleaning agent. Mixing cleaners can cause harmful reactions that can be deadly. Check out our blog on this topic here.
  • Melatonin: The TPCN had over 4,700 calls in 2020 for melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is produced naturally by the body and many people take a melatonin supplement at night to help them fall asleep. Taking too much of supplemental melatonin can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. Although relatively safe, it can also cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, anxiety, diarrhea, joint pain, and sometimes seizures. Please consult your doctor to determine what is the right dosage for you.
  • Vitamins (Multivitamins, and Vitamin D specifically): Many vitamins can be a cause of concern if too much is ingested. Too much vitamin C or zinc can cause nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Too much selenium can lead to hair loss, gastrointestinal upset, fatigue, and mild nerve damage. Please call poison help at 1-800-222-1222 if you suspect a vitamin overdose.

The poison centers are always ready to take your call and assist with your poison emergency or questions. Whether you have a mix-up of medications or have a bite or sting from a critter, the poison centers can help. Over 90 percent of calls happen in the home, so it is important to have the poison number close by. Save this number in your phone: 1-800-222-1222. You never know when you might need it.