Poison Prevention and When to Go to the ER
March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month. Accidental poisoning is as relevant today as in the early 60s when the U.S. Congress passed a resolution requesting the President to proclaim the observance.
This month allows us to highlight the dangers of poisoning for people of all ages and urge the community to participate in poisoning prevention.
At Supreme Care ER the finest emergency room in Cypress Texas, we’re happy to provide you with the emergency care that you need in the event of a medical emergency.
What is Poisoning, and How Common is It?
The National Library of Medicine defines a poison as any substance that, when swallowed, inhaled, injected, or absorbed through the skin, is harmful to your body.
Common poisons include:
- Large or incorrect doses of prescription or over-the-counter drugs
- Overdoses of illegal substances
- Alcohol overdose
- Spoiled food
- Household cleaning products, including bleach, laundry detergent, furniture polish, disinfectants, and others
- Pesticides and pest control poisons
- Certain indoor or outdoor plants
- Carbon monoxide generated by gas appliances
- Metals such as mercury and lead
- Smoke inhalation
Although being poisoned seems unlikely for most of us, these preventable poisonings happen regularly. Unfortunately, most accidental poisoning incidents occur at home.
The 55 U.S. poison control centers annually provide telephone guidance for more than 2.1 million human poison exposures. That translates into one poison exposure report every 15 seconds.
What Are the Effects of Poisoning?
Poison exposure effects range from mild to life-threatening depending on the amount and type of poison involved and range from short-term illness to long-term disability, potential brain damage, coma, or death.
Mild effects may include headache, nausea, diarrhea, sore joints and muscles, skin or eye irritation, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and unexplained mood changes.
The effects of moderate poisoning include severe nausea, severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, excessive perspiration, loss of muscle coordination, and muscle twitches. Mental confusion, difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, flushed or yellow skin, extreme weakness, and blurred vision.
Please call the poison control center immediately at 1-800-222-1222 if you feel someone was poisoned.
Severe poisoning can be fatal, and immediate medical attention is needed.
Warning signs of severe poisoning include uncontrollable muscle twitches, increased breathing rate, inability to breathe, convulsions, fever, intense thirst, and unconsciousness
Please call 911 if you believe you or someone you know has severe poisoning.
Poison Prevention Tips
- Keep all medications and supplements safely stored in a locked cabinet if you have children or elderly adults with cognitive deficiencies at home
- Keep medications in their original packaging to avoid confusion
- Please don’t allow children or the elderly to self-medicate, and always oversee their dosage
- Store cleaning products in a safe place out of children’s reach
- Don’t mix cleaning solutions, as the chemical reaction can cause dangerous fumes
- Discard unused and expired medications safely
- Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home
- Store all chemicals, including fertilizers, pesticides, coolants, and antifreeze, in their original containers and keep them in a locked cabinet
- Ensure children’s toys and art supplies labels indicate the product is lead-free
- Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of preparing the meal to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria
- Keep meats and dairy products in the refrigerator until ready to cook
- Ask your local nursery about potential poisonous plants you may have at home, and replace them as soon as possible
When to Go to the ER for Poisoning
You should always seek help when poisoning is involved. Call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 and follow their advice. If you suspect severe poisoning, please don’t delay; call 911 or head to the nearest emergency room immediately.
The emergency staff at Supreme Care ER is available 24/7. If you or someone you know experience signs of poisoning, please don’t hesitate to visit us.
At Supreme Care ER, we offer free medical screening in case you are not sure whether or not it’s a medical emergency. Knowing the difference could help save a life. We’re safe, fast, and open 24/7.
At Supreme Care ER in Houston, the finest emergency room in Cypress, Texas, we’re happy to provide you with the emergency care you need in the event of a medical emergency. We are conveniently located at 9530 Jones Road, Houston, Texas, 77065. We’re fast and remain open 24 hours year-round.