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Medical Edge: Poison Prevention Week

Updated: Tuesday, March 18 2014, 05:44 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- This is National Poison Prevention Week and experts at the Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center have some important reminders about a few common items you probably have in your own home.

Before you or a family member wind up in here for transport, Jerry Wiesenhahn wants you to know: you have resources in dozens of poison information call centers all over the country.

His main point is, "Anything can be a poison in the right amount," Wiesenhahn said.

What might surprise you is the number of calls that come in to the call center for common things you probably have in your own household.  Things that can lead to poisoning in both children and adults.  There are probably three they want all of us to be aware of and especially this Poison Prevention Week.

Topping the list is any prescription medication.  Poisonings come from those who double dose and those who shouldn't be dosing at all.

Jerry Wiesenhahn tells us, "Mostly children, 51 percent of our poisoning calls come from children being involved.  But that means forty nine percent come from people that are not children, so it's a mix.  No age is really immune from poisonings."

Second, watch the energy drinks.  According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 21,000 visits to the emergency room involved energy drinks with high amounts of caffeine.  That's double the amount from the previous report four years before leaving many feeling jittery, nervous and anxious.

Finally, as spring flowers bloom, spring cleaning often has people taking compounds out of their original containers.

Wiesenhahn said, "Many of our calls come as a result of people who put a chemical or cleaning substance into a container to carry it to another part of the house to use it.  They put it down and someone else drinks from it, or they drink from it themselves, forgetting it's a chemical not a drink that they brought with them."

If you have questions you can call 1-800-222-1222 for poison information.  It is staffed 24 hours a day every day of the year.

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