The month of March is Poison Prevention Month

Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 6:25 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Since 2009, the CDC reports the number one cause of injury deaths for adults ages 25 to 64 is unintentional poisoning.

In Wisconsin, the poison center reported more than 35,000 calls in 2020.

It might surprise you to learn items commonly found in your home can poison you.

For adults, a common sight for HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital emergency room physician Doctor Jocko Zifferblatt is medicine.

“Accidentally taking a second dose of medications,” Zifferblatt said. “If you have trouble with that having blister packs and having Monday through Friday packs are pretty important for adults.”

When it comes to children, Mayo Clinic ER physician Doctor Paul Horvath says unattended items around the house can turn into hospital visits.

“Kids tend to find medications or chemicals around the house and are of course curious and want to taste and try things,” Horvath said. “So, they unintentionally have a poisoning.”

Sometimes kids can think dishwasher and laundry pods are candy, but Dr. Zifferblatt says they are incredibly dangerous if ingested.

“Children, they like candy and they like things that look good and there are so many things that look good,” Zifferblatt said “So, if you take, for example, the pods that go into a dishwasher or the pods that go into laundry detergent, those are highly toxic and concentrated.”

The doctors suggest keeping things out of reach and using more secure packaging for potentially poisonous household items.

“Really taking advantage of those tamper-resistant or child-resistant packages to at least try to make it a little harder for the little kids to get into those substances,” Horvath said.

Some signs of poisoning include chest pains, tiredness, and changes in alertness.

“They’ll see their kids have put something in their mouth, they may see a little residue around their lips or on their tongue and that can be a common thing,” Horvath said. “The third thing I would point to would be nausea and vomiting. Obviously, when you put toxins in your body your body wants to get rid of them.”

If you suspect poisoning, it’s a good idea to pick up the phone and call the Wisconsin Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or visit their website. It could come in handy to have the packaging of the substance that has been ingested to better help the poison control operator gauge the situation.

If you believe the situation warrants more attention, medical professionals say to call 911 as soon as possible.

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