Toxic Topics

Keeping Your Family Safe Around Medicine

Today there are more medicines in the home than ever before, and this increases the potential risk to children of accidental medicine poisoning.   Every year, more than 59,000 young children are seen in emergency rooms because they got into medicine while a caregiver wasn’t looking.  Almost every minute of every day, there’s a call to a poison center because a young child got into medicine.  Most families believe they’re being careful about storing medicine away from children, but the alarming number of children being rushed to emergency rooms with medicine poisoning shows we need to do a better job to protect children from medicine poisoning.…

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Button Batteries…They Look Innocent

Many toys and electronics are powered by small disc batteries.  These batteries are often accidentally swallowed by small children, and sometimes adults.  Every year in the United States, more than 3,500 people of all ages swallow these miniature disc or “button batteries”.  A study of 2,382 cases of battery ingestions reported to a national registry showed that 44.6% of the batteries were obtained from hearing aids.  In 32.8% of these cases, the battery was removed from the child’s own hearing aid.  Occasionally, adults swallow disc batteries as a result of putting them in their mouths while changing batteries or mistake them for their pills. …

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The Dangers of Fentanyl

Many questions still remain about the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Prince in April 2016. However, a report released by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s office concluded that the singer died from an overdose of the opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl is a potent, synthetic opioid analgesic, with a rapid onset and short duration of action. It’s used intravenously in a hospital setting for relief of severe pain. It is also available on prescription in various forms. Transdermal patches work by slowly releasing fentanyl through the skin into the bloodstream over 48 to 72 hours, allowing for long-lasting pain management. Fentanyl lozenges and lollipops are a solid formulation of fentanyl citrate that dissolves slowly in the mouth for transmucosal absorption.…

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Child-Resistant is NOT Child-Proof

It seems as though those hard-to-open bottles have been around forever. And for new parents today, they have. But what is the reason and history behind the child-resistant packages? Back to the 1960s children were dying from poisonings in large numbers. The country developed an education program to warn parents of the dangers of household items but this was not enough. Children were still dying. It was decided that if a barrier was created between the children and household products and medicine, children would be safer. This led to the passage of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970. This law states: “The packaging required must be designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open within a reasonable time, and not difficult for normal adults to use properly.” Standards were created to determine if a package passes or fails a child test.…

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Don’t Google…Just Call!

Isn’t technology great!  We’ve become a technology-based society. If we want to go someplace, we use a GPS device instead of finding a map. Our music is played on devices that fit in the palm of your hand. If we need to look up a definition of a word, we reach for the computer or tablet or smart phone and use dictionary.com instead of reaching for the dictionary. If we have a question about anything, our first thought is to “Google It”. And there is a definite place for this technology. Usually, when you use search engines to find something on the internet, it takes some time to find the exact information you’re looking for.…

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New Study Points to Poisoning Dangers for Babies 6 Months and Younger

A new study raises awareness of the dangers of unintentional exposure to poisons for babies 6 months and younger. Traditionally, this has not been an age group that poison center educators have focused on, because infants aren’t up and walking about. But while a young baby may be less mobile, the data shows that babies are indeed finding their way to harmful objects. It also stresses the need for added parental/caregiver caution when giving medications to this age group. This study looked at calls made to all U.S. poison centers from January 2004 to December 2013 for babies 6 months and younger.…

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The Dangers of Flakka

Use of a dangerous synthetic cathinone drug called alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PDP), popularly known as “Flakka,” is surging in Florida and is also being reported in other parts of the country, according to news reports. In some parts of the country, it is also called “gravel” because of its white crystal chunks that have been compared to aquarium gravel. Alpha-PDP is chemically similar to other synthetic cathinone drugs popularly called “bath salts” but like bath salts, flakka has the potential to be much more dangerous than cocaine. Flakka takes the form of a white or pink, foul-smelling crystal that can be eaten, snorted, injected, or vaporized in an e-cigarette or similar device.…

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Venomous Animals of Texas

A venomous animal is one that produces a poison (venom) to attack its prey or defend itself. Some animal’s venom is more toxic than others. People, who have an encounter with these animals, have varied reactions to their venom. Click here to download the document and read more.

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Who Do I Call If I Think Someone Has Been Poisoned?

According to the CDC, poisoning is the No. 1 cause of injury death in the U. S., with most deaths happening due to drug and medicine misuse and abuse. More than 3.1 million calls were received by poison centers last year. Anyone can call. Poison centers aren’t just for parents whose children get into a cleaning product. Approximately half of those calls involved children under the age of six but the majority of deaths and serious cases occurred in teens and adults involving medications. According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, poisoning causes 35,000 deaths each year.…

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Halloween Safety Tips

Trick or Treaters Carry a flashlight Walk, don’t run Stay on sidewalks Obey all traffic signals Stay in familiar neighborhoods Avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house If no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic Wear clothing with reflective markings or tape Approach house that are lit Stay away from and don’t pet animals you don’t know Parents Young Children should be accompanied by an adult Costumes should be of flame-retardant materials Older children should know where to reach their parents and when to go home Tell all your children to bring the candy home to be inspected before eating Look at the wrapping carefully and toss out anything that looks suspicious…

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