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.