The Centers for Disease Control says accidental poisonings are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
As part of National Poison Prevention Week various health groups are brining awareness to the issue to help keep families safe.
Common poison dangers include household chemicals, cleaning supplies, automotive chemicals, gasoline, antifreeze, makeup, cosmetics and even the batteries in your kids’ toys.
According to the West Virginia Poison Center, thousands of calls are made each year regarding those and other poisons, but the dangers are preventable with a few easy steps.
First, keep all chemicals not only out of reach but also hidden from children and pets.
“Never put any chemical, water based or anything like that inside a water bottle,” said Mon Health EMS Paramedic Brian LaRue. “You’re going to mistake it, pick it up drink it. The best thing you can actually do is put it in a secure place that’s locked and away from the child that they’re not able to get into. Just because it’s necessarily out of reach doesn’t mean it’s out of mind for them.”
Do the same for prescription medications and never take medications that aren’t prescribed to you.
“You’re not sure what side effects it’s going to have with the current medication you’re taking, nor any general side effects and how it will react with you,” LaRue explained.
Cars can also be a poisoning danger, so in addition to being careful with fluids like antifreeze, be careful where you work on your vehicle.
“You just want to make sure it’s well ventilated with a fan running or a door open to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning,” cautioned LaRue. “It’s especially with that it’s silent. You don’t taste it. You don’t feel it, and it slowly progresses to the point you’re unconscious.”
So what should you do if you ingest one of these poisons?
Paramedics say to call the West Virginia Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 or dial 911 in severe cases, but never induce vomiting unless told to do so.
“If it’s caustic it’s gonna cause more issues coming back up through the airway. It can actually can burn the esophagus,” LaRue explained.
In an emergency poison situation, dispatchers can also help until paramedics arrive.
“They’ll be able to provide first aid for whatever your case may be, whether it be airway control with the patient seizing, or with something that has happened in which they’re in cardiac arrest, in which their airway and heart function have ceased, and they can give you CPR instructions,” LaRue said.
To find more information, visit wvpoisioncenter.org.