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March 18-24 is Poison Prevention Week

(Muffet, Flickr)

Every day of the year seems to be the host of some unknown holiday, and while most of those are fairly whimsical, this week deals with an issue that is not only serious, but is sometimes deadly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention latest statistics show that 100 people die every day from unintentional poisoning deaths in the United States. National Poison Prevention Week raises awareness of the dangers of poison exposure and reminds the public that they can call their poison center for quick, reliable and free assistance.

A call to 1(800)222-1222 from anywhere in the U.S. will put you in contact with your local poison center and have you talking to a Registered Nurse immediately, likely saving you a costly trip to the doctor’s office or emergency room. Poison centers are at least three times more cost effective than child safety seats, smoke detectors and bicycle helmets. Every dollar spent on a poison center saves about $7 in unnecessary health care expenses according to the Nebraska Regional Poison Center.

One surprising aspect of the work at the poison center is that only half of the calls received concerned a young child. In fact, more adults die from poisonings than children and drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990. Death by unintentional poisonings is now ranked first as the leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S.

Here are some examples of the type of calls the Wyoming Poison Center says they have received every day for the last 55 years:

  • Mary woke up and took her prescription meds after brushing her teeth. Then she took them again while drinking her coffee.
  • Andrew (2 y/o) swallowed a button battery that was in the musical greeting card that he had been playing with.
  • Suzan gave her 6 year old daughter her ADHD medication and then unknowingly her husband Mike gave it to her again.
  • Bridget broke a CFL bulb in her kitchen and isn’t sure what exactly she should do but she thinks it may be a problem.
  • Pete took the dog’s worm medicine out of the bottle and laid it on the counter to give to the dog but now can’t find it and his 3 y/o son is chewing something.
  • Megan’s entire family is having flu-like symptoms and severe headaches and she is unsure if it is from the furnace that has been acting up or if it’s from something they all ate last night.
  • James was cleaning his car and decided to clean the tires with a cleaner he found in the garage. His hands look normal but they are extremely painful. He is wondering if it is the tire cleaner.
  • Kendra took several Tylenol last night for a toothache, and then took some acetaminophen too. Now she has vomiting and wonders if she took too much medicine.

Wyoming Poison Center is funded by the Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and Wyoming Department of Health Office of Emergency Medical Services.

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