Almost anything can be poisonous. If it’s used in the wrong way, in the wrong amount, or by the wrong person. That’s this year’s theme for National Poison Prevention Week (March 15-21). And it’s true.
Poisonings can happen to anyone. The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) states that 55 poison centers across the country receive millions of calls each year. With the majority of them being directly related to coming into contact with dangerous or potentially dangerous substances.
Poison Centers are for Everyone
While just under half of all poison center calls are about children, the calls about teens, adults and older adults are often more serious.
Here are some of the most common poison exposures by age group:
- Young children – Cosmetics and personal care products. Household cleaners. Pain medicines.
- Tweens and teens – Pain medicines. Antidepressants. Foreign bodies and toys (ages 6-12 years).
- Adults – Pain medicines. Sleep medicines and anxiety/mood medications. Antidepressants.
- Older adults – Heart medicines. Pain medicines. Sleep medicines and anxiety/mood medications.
Other common poison exposures include household products, plants, mushrooms, pesticides, bites and stings, and carbon monoxide.
Protect Your Home from Poisonings
More than 90% of poisonings happen in the home. Take steps to kid-proof your home from accidental poisonings and make your home a safer place overall.
Do an all-over sweep of your home to look for potential poisonings. And then safely store them out of reach. Use the infographic below as a guide.
Remember, products that you may think aren’t harmful could be dangerous in younger hands. For example, things like furniture polish, jewelry cleaner and perfume may not have even been on your list automatically.
What To Do If You Suspect Poisoning
Poisons act fast, so you need to respond quickly. Signs of a possible poisoning include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Burns or blisters around the mouth, throat
- Abdominal pain
- Unusual odor on the breath
- Decreased response
Always call 911 if the person is unresponsive or having difficulty breathing and begin CPR if needed. If the person is alert, call 1-800-222-1222 to connect with a local poison control center 24 hours a day.