Poison Prevention Week

Last year the Mississippi Poison Prevention Center handled more than 20,000 cases and recorded 17 deaths due to poisoning. The most common victims are children two to five-years-old.

Some of the most common causes included medicine or household products that were misused. These products included things such as glass cleaners, which can adversely affect the central nervous system; mothballs, which can cause seizures and nail polish remover, which contains acetone.

"For one thing it's flammable and it causes burns and if enough of it is consumed it can cause death," said Bert Turcotte who is the emergency room director at Riley Hospital.

Turcotte says the danger of some plants is something, which people should keep in mind. For instance he says if eaten by babies, some plants can cause painful irritation to the mouth and stomach.

If you think your child has ingested a household product but you are not sure, healthcare officials say you can look for some signs.

"You can look in their mouth to look for redness, burned areas or smell their breathe to see if they've ingested these items," said Turcotte.

To safety proof your home Turcotte says you should use special latches to lock cabinets and doors; put all medicine or dangerous household products out of the reach of children; always leave products in the containers which you buy them and never leave a child alone with a household product which could be dangerous.

If you or someone you love ingest a dangerous household substance, you are advised to call the National Posion Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 as soon as possible.

"It could be the difference between life or death or a long term illness!" said Turcotte.

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Poison Prevention Tips

  • Keep all household chemical products and medicines (especially iron pills and food supplements containing iron) out of sight of youngsters and, preferably, locked up when not in use. Medicines and household chemicals on kitchen counters or bathroom surfaces are very accessible to young children.

  • When these products are in use, never let young children out of your sight, even if you must take them along when answering the telephone or the doorbell.

  • Store all medicines separately from household products, and store all household chemical products away from food.

  • Keep items in their original containers.

  • Leave the original labels on all products, and read the label before using.

  • Do not put decorative lamps and candles that contain lamp oil where children can reach them. Lamp oil ingestions by children can result in pneumonia and death.

  • Always leave the light on when giving or taking medicines.

  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children since youngsters tend to imitate grown-ups.

  • Refer to medicine as "medicine,” not "candy."

  • Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically, and safely dispose of unneeded medicines when the illness for which they were prescribed is over. Pour contents down drain or toilet, and rinse container before discarding.

  • Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container securely after its use.

Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov (National Institute of Health Web site) contributed to this report.