Hospital News

The Poison Help hotline is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-222-1222.

The Poison Help hotline is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-222-1222.

J.C. Blair and Huntingdon County Safe Kids Celebrate National Poison Prevention Week

Each year, more than 2 million poisoning exposures are reported to the Nation’s Poison Centers – that’s one possible poisoning every 13 seconds. As part of National Poison Prevention Week 2009, J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and Huntingdon County Safe Kids remind the Huntingdon County community that poisoning is a leading public health problem, second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of unintentional injury death.

According to the Poison Help website, “a poison exposure occurs when a person swallows, breathes, touches, or gets splashed in the eye with something that can cause sickness or death. Poisoning is a matter of dose – too much of anything can be dangerous. Most consumer products are safe if label directions are followed, but some can be poisonous if used incorrectly.”

Approximately 90% of poisonings occur in people’s homes, with over 50% of poisoning exposures involving children under age 6. The leading causes of poisoning in children are cosmetics such as perfume or nail polish, personal care products such as deodorant and soap, cleaning products such as laundry detergent and floor cleaners, and pain killers such as acetaminophen and similar medications.

Poisonings can be prevented by taking some quick and easy precautions:
• Never mix household and chemical products together. A poisonous gas may be created when mixing chemicals.
• DO NOT use food containers such as cups or bottles to store household and chemical products.
• Read and follow the directions and warnings on the label before taking any medicine. If you have any questions about the intended use of your medicine, contact your doctor.
• Never share prescription medicines. Medicines should be taken by the person prescribed and for the reason prescribed.

This year’s National Poison Prevention Week is March 15-21, 2009, and the theme is “Children Act Fast, So Do Poisons.” For more information about how to prevent poisoning in the home or to access a map of the 61 poison centers across the United States, log on to www.PoisonHelp.hrsa.gov. Staffed by nurses, pharmacists, doctors and other poison control experts, the Poison Help hotline is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-222-1222.