Know the Signs of Poisoning
Know the Warning Signs of a Potential Exposure to Poison
Since 1962 the third week of March has been designated as National Poison Awareness Week, although most people do not realize it, poison is the leading cause of injury death in America according to a report from the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC).
When we think of poisonings, most of us think of people consciously ingesting toxic substances on purpose, the sad reality, however, is that most poisonings are unintentional and most importantly these are preventable.
Leading Causes of Poisoning in the Home
According to the same report from the AAPCC out of the 2.7 million cases recorded in 2016,
46% of poison victims were children under the age of 6, while adults between the ages of 20 and 59 accounted for 27%.
The National Poison Data System (NPDS) manages a product list of more than 430,000 products that are considered poisonous, these range from viral and bacterial agents to commercial chemical compounds and drug products, this gives you a sense of how exposure to toxic substances we face daily.
However, we can simplify this product list by arranging them into the following leading causes of exposure in the household:
- Drugs and Medication: Prescription and over the counter drug abuse can cause high levels of toxicity in the body, the same is true of expired or contaminated medications.
- Household Chemicals: We use cleaning products every day in our homes, from soap, detergents, bleach, and ammonia, to insecticides and weed killers, most of these are safe if handled correctly but can potentially be lethal if used incorrectly.
Carbon Monoxide: The silent killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is colorless, tasteless, and odorless, there are many sources of CO in the home like furnaces, gas stoves, gas or wood-burning fireplaces, water heaters, tobacco smoke, motor vehicles, grills, and generators to name a few. It is estimated that some 500 people die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning in the US, to avoid accidents install CO detectors.
What are the Symptoms You Should Watch Out For?
There are many poison agents, and symptoms can vary depending on the substance the patient was exposed to, however, there are some general warning signs that everyone should look out for:
- Abdominal Pain
- Lips That Turn a Bluish or Grayish tone
- Chest Pain
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Difficulty Breathing or Shortness of Breath
- Double Vision
- Heart Palpitations
- Loss of Appetite
- Loss of Bladder Control
- Muscle Twitching
- Numbness and Tingling
- Skin Rash or Unexplained Burns
- Loss of Consciousness or Coma
- Unusual Breath Odor
When to Rush to Prestige ER
It is important to remember that the American Association of Poison Control Centers has 55 centers throughout the country, and they also have a 24/7 Poison Help Hotline which can be reached at 1-800-222-1222. Calling the Poison Control Center is a viable option when patients are stable and conscious, however, if the patient presents any of the following symptoms, you need to call 911 and have the ambulance rush you to our emergency center right away:
- Drowsy or Unconscious
- Having Difficulty Breathing or Has Stopped Breathing
- Uncontrollably Restless or Agitated
- Having Seizures
- Have Taken Medications or Other Substances Intentionally, or if They Accidentally Overdosed
Prevent Accidental Poisoning
Accidental poisonings in the home can be prevented, for this make sure all cleaning products, pesticides, medications, and other potentially toxic substances are properly stored out of the reach of children. These items should be clearly labeled, make sure you never leave chemical solutions unattended while in use.
At Prestige ER, we are open 24/7 and our facility and staff can handle any type of poison exposure.
Prestige ER – In Plano, Texas, Near Frisco and Allen
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