Poison prevention

Each year, more than 2 million poisonings are reported to the nation’s poison control centers, which can be reached through the toll-free Poison Help line, 1-800-222-1222. National Poison Prevention Week will be held March 19-25. It serves to raise awareness of poison prevention nationwide and is an opportunity to highlight the dangers of poisoning for people of all ages.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 93 percent of poisonings happen at home, and 45 percent of poisonings involve children under the age of 6. Most fatal poisonings occur among adults, especially older adults.

Medication: Keep all medicines in locked cabinets and out of the reach of children. They should be kept in their original containers, properly labeled and stored appropriately. Never share prescription medicines.

Carbon monoxide: Have a working carbon monoxide (CO) detector in your home. The best places for a CO detector are near bedrooms and close to the furnace.

Household products: Always follow the instructions on the product label to ensure safe and effective use. Bleach is especially toxic and should not be mixed with anything other than water. Keep all household cleaners in locked cabinets and out of the reach of children. Do not use food containers to store household cleaners and other chemicals.

Food: Store food at the proper temperatures. Refrigerated foods should not be left out at temperatures above 40 degrees F.

National Poison Prevention Week was established by the U.S. Congress in 1961 to focus national attention on the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them. To learn more about ways to keep people of all ages safe and help prevent poisonings, visit the Poison Help website at PoisonHelp.hrsa.gov.

The Health Resources and Services Administration is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which through the Poison Help campaign provides funding to improve poison control centers and develops programs to support the enhancement and improvement of poison education, prevention and treatment.

Health Resources and Services Administration