National Poisoning Prevention Week

Poison Prevention Week

The third week of March is proclaimed National Poison Prevention Week. It was created “as a means for local communities to raise awareness of the dangers of unintentional poisonings and to take such preventive measures as the dangers warrant”, according to the .

Poisoning Statistics and Facts

Every fifteen seconds in the United States, one person reports a poisoning to one of the many poison control centers in the country. Poison prevention awareness serves to remind people that some of the most toxic and deadliest items in a household are the most accessible.

Just about everyone uses poisonous products on a daily basis. Things such as medication, cleaning products, gases, and pesticides are lethal when placed in irresponsible hands. Also, there are items that some people may not even consider to be harmful when consumed, such as plants or undercooked foods. Everyone needs to take time this week to understand the importance of knowing about these poisonous items and preventing them from doing serious harm.

For all age groups, accidental poisoning is the leading cause of deaths in the United States, even surpassing car-related fatalities since 2008. There were almost 2.1 million poisonings in the United States in 2018. The United States poison control centers have collectively agreed that there is one poisoning reported to them every fifteen seconds.

Types of Poisoning

Poisoning can come in many forms. There are situations in which an individual may not even realize that they are consuming a toxic substance. Other times, an individual may consume something contaminated with something toxic that could cause serious harm to their body.

  • Gas. Inhaling toxic gases, either knowingly or unknowingly, commonly poisons a large number of people every year. Two of the most common gaseous poisonings are carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Carbon monoxide is a natural gas that comes mostly from combustion. In other words, when something burns. In a typical household, the poisonous gas emits form fireplaces, grills, and automobiles. Carbon dioxide is another natural gas, but not as toxic as carbon monoxide. It occurs naturally in the air that everyone breathes, and only causes harm if inhaled in concentrated doses. Both gases are odorless, colorless, and tasteless.
  • Chemicals. Children are mostly victims of chemical poisoning. These chemicals are in everyday household items, such as household cleaners, laundry detergent, pesticides, industrial chemicals, and pretty much everything else under the kitchen sink. Ingesting different chemicals cause different symptoms, but ingesting too much of any of them can be fatal. Inducing vomiting is the most effective way to purge the compound and prevent it from doing further harm, but call The Emergency Center to reserve a room and come to our facility immediately.
  • Medication. In 2018, there were over 67,000 overdoses in the United States. While some overdoses are cases of suicide, others are accidental. If a person does not know their dosage or does not know they are allergic, an overdose can be fatal. Children must stay away from all forms of medication at all times. If someone is suffering from an overdose, they must induce vomiting to purge the drug from their system. They must also go to the emergency room. Currently, the country has a severe opioid crisis. There are many forms of opioids in this country, and all of them are highly addictive.
  • Food poisoning. Anybody can become ill from food poisoning. Food poisoning occurs when someone consumes contaminated foods or undercooked meats. They may also be the result of a national food recall, which is not that unusual. Foodborne illnesses are common in the United States and generally cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, and chills. Most of the time, the disease will last for a few days. However, the illness can become fatal, depending on the severity of the condition. There is no cure for foodborne illness, but over the counter (OTC) medications can normally stymie the symptoms.
  • Topical. Ointments, makeup, and other chemicals are capable of causing allergic reactions. These reactions can range in severity depending on how allergic an individual is to the product. Some substances should not make skin contact, and they can cause rashes, burns, and other painful skin reactions. Plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac have leaves coated with oils that react to skin contact. Upon contact, the surface of the skin becomes itchy, and many small bumps begin to form. Cold water, soap, and anti-itch ointments can relieve the effects of topical poisoning.
  • Animal bites/stings. Several species in the world have the capability of poisoning a person, either through a bite or a sting. Snakes, bees, certain frogs, and fish can produce venom that is capable of causing fatal injuries. In most cases, antivenom can reverse the effects of these animal attacks. If an individual suffers from an animal attack, they should seek immediate medical attention.

It is easier than most people think for someone to become poisoned. Unknowingly, they could very well be ingesting a toxic substance as they breathe, eat, or conduct any other daily routine. Always treat poisoning as a medical emergency because the effect may worsen over time.

Come to The Emergency Center if You Suspect Poisoning

If you think you or a loved one has been accidentally poisoned, come to The Emergency Center immediately for an evaluation. We are open 24/7/365 with NO WAIT. Avoid being exposed to coronavirus at a hospital ER waiting room – we take you straight to your own private room. 

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The Emergency Center
San Antonio
11320 Alamo Ranch Pkwy
San Antonio, TX 78253

Phone: 210-485-3644