Tips for Poison Prevention in the Home

poison preventionPoison is anything that can lead to illness or death if it is breathed in, swallowed, and splashed in the eyes or on the skin or injected. Poisons can be found almost everywhere, including in the home, where about 90% of all poisonings occur. Poisoning can affect people of all ages; however, children under the age of 6 are the most vulnerable. By taking just a few steps, poison prevention is possible. Here are a few tips how you can reduce the risk of poisoning in the home.

Home Safety Checklist

It is important to know that there are poison dangers in each room of the house. Whether it’s oven cleaner under the kitchen sink or medications in the bathroom cabinet, there are numerous products that can harm children (as well as adults) if accidentally eaten, inhaled, used incorrectly or even touched. With your checklist in hand, go through each room to ensure all products are safely stored and out of reach of children.

Tips for Poison Prevention

  • Store all over-the-counter medicines, prescription medications, vitamins and supplements in a locked cabinet and follow directions carefully on all medications and read the warning labels. Dispose of expired and/or unused medications.
  • Routinely clean out purses, coat pockets and computer bags to ensure there are no medications, cosmetics and small items for little hands to find.
  • Keep all cleaners, chemicals, oils and medicines in their original containers so you know what they are.
  • Store all chemicals, such as detergents, household cleaners, pesticides and automotive products in a securely locked cabinet and out of reach of children.
  • Keep perfumes, cosmetics and personal care products stored where children cannot reach or see them. The colorful items attract children’s attention and can be dangerous if swallowed.
  • Never store potentially poisonous products in the same place where food is kept. Children as well as seniors can easily mistake poisonous items for something they can eat.

Signs of Possible Poisoning

It is extremely important to know the signs and symptoms of possible poisoning. If you suspect someone has been poisoned, it is essential that you call the North Texas Poison Center at (800) 222-1222 immediately. Some of the signs may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Burning around the mouth
  • Foaming in the mouth
  • Unconsciousness

Keep in mind that poisons can be lurking in the places where you least expect it. For example, food poisoning can occur from eating undercooked or raw eggs, so it’s best to avoid sauces that may contain raw eggs. Poison prevention also includes being aware of your surroundings! It is important to teach children to never put leaves, seeds, mushrooms or berries from plants into their mouths. Learn to identify poisonous plants in your neighborhood and always wear gloves when handling potentially poisonous plants.

Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you are seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. No waiting in the hospital emergency room waiting when you are sick.

Spring Break Health Tips

spring breakIt’s that time of the year when millions of high school and college students are planning a long-time tradition-spring break. Although it is a time for friends and fun, it is also a time that can quickly take a turn for the worse. If you are planning a spring break trip, one of the most important things to add to your “trip list” is spring break safety. Here are a few tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable spring break.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

If you are of legal drinking age and you are planning to include drinking alcohol as part of your spring break, it is extremely important to keep in mind that alcohol can impair your actions and your judgment. Every 31 minutes someone dies in an alcohol related motor vehicle crash and non-fatal injuries occur every two minutes as a result of motor alcohol related accidents, so don’t drink and drive. There are plenty of tasty non-alcoholic alternatives, so choose your beverages with safety in mind.

Protect Skin from the Sun

After a cold, snowy winter, it can be extremely tempting to stay out in the warm sun longer than what you should. Although getting some sun can be beneficial for you, excessive and unprotected sun exposure can lead to changes in your skin texture, premature aging and even skin cancer. Remember to always wear sunscreen and reapply after getting in the water. The ideal sunscreen is one with an SPF of 15. Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing wrap-around sunglasses that provide 100% UV ray protection.

Drink Water & Eat Healthy

It requires a lot of fuel and energy to have fun, so be sure to eat a variety of healthy foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables. It’s also recommended that you include lean meats, fish, poultry and low-fat dairy products in your diet. Be sure to drink plenty of water and try to limit the amount of salt, sugar and saturated fat you eat.

Stay Active

If you’re like most high school and college students, the winter months typically include a lot of sitting in class working on the computer and studying, so during your spring break take an opportunity to start a fitness program. While you’re away on break, participate in a variety of fun activities, such as dancing, playing volleyball, swimming and walking. Remember activity doesn’t have to been strenuous to be beneficial. Part of spring break safety is to avoid getting an injury so, start all new activities slowly and try to include activities that help to increase your breathing and heart rate as well as strengthen your muscles.

Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you are seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. No waiting in the hospital emergency room waiting when you are sick.

Indoor Christmas Decoration Safety

Decoration SafetyHoliday decorations are a tradition that adds to the wonder of the season, but they can also increase the potential risks of fire and injuries if not used safely and your holiday wish list probably doesn’t include a trip to the hospital. Here are a few indoor decoration safety tips to ensure you have a safe holiday season.

Christmas Tree Safety

A Christmas tree can generally remain fire resistant throughout the season if you follow a few simple steps:

  • Trim the trunk 2-4 inches above the original cut to allow moisture into the foliage
  • Moisture is the primary key for keeping your tree fresh and increasing its fire resistance, so put the trunk in water immediately after re-cutting it. Remember to check the water levels daily and never let the water level go below the trunk bottom.
  • The Christmas tree should be placed away from heat sources, including wood stoves, fireplaces and heater outlets.
  • Keep in mind that even an artificial tree can catch on fire, so use the same precautions for artificial trees as you would for a live tree.
  • Use care when hanging ornaments on your tree. Keep pet and child decoration safety in mind by placing non-toxic and unbreakable ornaments on the lowest branches of the tree. For extra safety, consider replacing metal hooks with ribbon to prevent the risk of choking and/or injury.
  • Never leave a lighted tree unattended

Lights and Decorations

First and foremost, choose decorations that are flame retardant or flame resistant. It is also important to keep decorations away from windows, doors and sources of heat. Use lights that have a label verifying laboratory testing and safety. Be sure to only use indoor lights inside and check all electrical cords to make sure they don’t have frayed wires or broken sockets. Other light safety tips include:

  • Do not link more than 3 strands of lights, unless the instructions indicate that it is safe to do so.
  • Don’t leave lights turned on unattended or for prolonged periods of time.
  • There are several styles of Christmas lights to choose from, but keep in mind that LED lights produce virtually no heat, so they are typically the safest option.

Use the Appropriate Outlets

Read the label that is attached to all light strands and other wired decorations to make sure you will be using the appropriate wattage levels. Check all decorations and lights before installing or plugging them in. Do not use any lighted decorations or lights that have frayed or bare wires or loose connections as this may pose a shock or fire hazard. Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many lights and/or decorations, because they can overheat and cause a fire.

Fire Safety

  • Don’t smoke out your family, your guests or Santa by having a dirty chimney.
  • Have your wood burning stove and/or fireplace inspected and cleaned once a year to prevent the risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • It’s also best to avoid throwing wrapping paper in the fireplace, because a flash fire can start due to the wrappings suddenly igniting.
  • If you like to burn candles, keep in mind that appropriate placement is essential. Keep candles away from paper, walls, curtains, clothing and curtains. Make sure to blow out candles before leaving a room and warn children to keep away from burning candles.
Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you are seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. No sitting in the hospital emergency Waiting room when you are sick.