Poison Prevention Starts at Home
June 1, 2017
Poison Control Centers across the nation report more than 2 million poisonings each year. Most of the poisonings occur at home and involve children younger than six years old. In fact, poisoning is now the leading cause of death from injuries in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The National Poison Prevention Week Council, poisonprevention.org, offers the following tips:
Medicine Safety Tips:
- Ask babysitters, visitors, and houseguests to keep purses, briefcases, or bags that contain medicines up high, away and out of sight from children.
- Buy products in child-resistant packaging whenever possible. But remember, child-resistant is not childproof.
- Consider keeping medicines in a locked container, out of reach, and out of sight, of children.
- Never call medicine “candy” to get a child to take it.
- Always turn the light on when giving or taking medicine. Check the dosage every time.
- Tell your doctor what other medicines you are taking so you can avoid harmful or dangerous drug interactions. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter medicine, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Read medicine and product labels before each use and follow directions exactly.
- Consult your pharmacist or healthcare professional if you have any questions regarding your medication.
- Never take more than the prescribed amount of medicine.
- Never “borrow” a friend’s medicine or take old medicines.
- Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically and safely dispose of medicines that are expired or no longer needed.
- If you think someone has been poisoned, call 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison center. This national toll-free number works anywhere in the U.S., 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The health professionals at the Midwestern University clinics also encourage people to know how to properly dispose of expired, unused, or damaged medications to further reduce the chances of medication-based poisonings.
“Throwing your medications into the garbage or flushing them through the water system may cause unintended potential harm to others,” said Lisa M. Palmisano, Pharm.D, BCACP, Assistant Professor, Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy and Clinical Pharmacist at the Midwestern Multispecialty Clinic.
“To learn the process of how to properly dispose of your medications, you can contact your local pharmacist. The pharmacist has information available regarding the specific and appropriate directions to dispose of medications, as there are various disposal processes. If you are not able to properly dispose of the product, the pharmacist may be able to direct you to a location that is an authorized collector of expired, unused, or damaged prescription medications. Several local law enforcement agencies may also participate in the annual National Take-Back Initiative hosted by the Drug Enforcement Agency to be held on April 30, 2016. You can also contact your local law enforcement agencies directly and inquire if they participate in a take-back program. When it comes to poison prevention, it is imperative to be proactive in taking the necessary safety tips to minimize the poison risk to others in all aspects of potential exposure from not only household chemicals but also medications,” Dr. Palmisano added.
In addition, the National Community Pharmacists Association has launched a “Dispose My Meds” program. More than 800 community pharmacies in 40 states will send unused medication to a medical-waste-disposal facility or provide clients with a postage-paid envelope so you can mail the drugs from your home. Check http://www.disposemymeds.org for more information.
For additional about poison prevention, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/poisoning/preventiontips.htm, or talk with your healthcare provider.
The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not for use in diagnosing any condition. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment and does not establish a provider/patient relationship. Always consult your own physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions regarding any possible medical condition.