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