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Preventing Unintentional Poisonings

Preventing Unintentional Poisonings

Did you know 9 out of 10 poisonings occur within the household? Most of these happen in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. And, more than 60,000 young children end up in emergency rooms every year because they got into medicine.

Every year, the third week in March is dedicated to raising the awareness of poison prevention, highlighting the dangers and how to prevent unintentional poisonings.


What is a poison?

A poison is anything that can harm someone if it is used in the wrong way, used by the wrong person or used in the wrong amount. Some poisons hurt you when they are ingested, while others can harm you if they get in your eyes or on your skin.

household productsWe use many products we may not think of as poisons; however, many everyday products can be poisonous.

Examples of poisons:

  • Alcohol
  • Carbon monoxide gas
  • Medicines both prescription and over-the-counter
  • Personal care products, such as hydrogen peroxide, lotion, nail polish remover
  • Household cleaners and products, such as bleach, laundry or dish detergent, toilet bowl cleaner, paint, pesticides
  • Automotive products, such as antifreeze, gasoline
  • Some plants
  • Bites and stings, such as wasp, bee, snake, spider
  • Hazardous chemicals

Is this a poison?


Poison Proofing

PoisonIs it time to do a little spring cleaning? Make it a point to do a little poison proofing of your home.

  • Inspect your entire home for any medicines or household products (detergents, cleaning products, pesticides, chemicals) that may not be stored properly. Always store these products high and out-of-reach of children.
  • Keep poisons in the containers they came in with their original labeling. Do not use food containers to store household cleaners, chemicals or other products and do not store them near food.
  • Read and follow the directions for a product’s proper use and disposal.
  • Have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home; the best places for a CO detector are near bedrooms and close to furnaces.
  • Know that pesticides can be taken in through the skin or inhaled. Stay away from areas that have been sprayed until the spray has dried or for at least one hour.
  • Wear protective clothing when using bug spray or other spray products. If pesticides are splashed on the skin, rinse with running water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Chemicals, such as drain openers, toilet cleaners, and oven cleaners can burn the skin.

Poison proofing your home.

When it comes to bugs and insects

  • Insect stings can cause serious problems and even death for those who are allergic to them. Go to the hospital if you have been stung and start showing signs of hives, dizziness, breathing trouble or swelling around the eyes or mouth.
  • Two common spiders that can harm you are the female black widow and the brown recluse. Within 36 hours of being bitten you may see or feel signs of poisoning – restlessness, fever, chills, nausea, weakness, rash or joint pain. Missouri is known to be home to the brown recluse.

Resources For You

Of course, the first step if you think someone has been poisoned is to call Poison Help, 800-222-1222 to reach your local poison center.


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