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Iowans Take Precautions for Poison Prevention Week

PHOTO: With more than two million accidental poisonings in the U.S. each year, families are being urged this week to make sure any dangerous medications or household products are kept locked up or out of reach. Photo credit: Frankie Leon/Flickr.
PHOTO: With more than two million accidental poisonings in the U.S. each year, families are being urged this week to make sure any dangerous medications or household products are kept locked up or out of reach. Photo credit: Frankie Leon/Flickr.
March 17, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa - As National Poison Prevention Week continues, local experts say some simple steps around the home can help reduce the chances of accidental poisoning, especially among children.

Poisoning is the leading cause of death from injuries in the U.S. Tammy Noble, education coordinator with the Iowa Poison Control Center, says that while everyone is at risk, those most often affected are children under age six. Products that could be dangerous should be kept out of reach or locked up.

"Painkillers tended to be the top substance that people were getting into," says Noble. "Second is cosmetics or personal care products. Third is sedative hypnotics and anti-psychotic medicine, and fourth is your household cleaning products."

Noble says among the newer concerns are e-cigarettes, with flavored liquid nicotine, and laundry pods, which often have bright colors and can be mistaken by young children for candy.

In the case of a poisoning, Noble says the person should not immediately drink water or milk or try to make themselves throw up, which can make things worse depending on what's been ingested. Instead, she says, they should call the poison help line at 1-800-222-1222.

"Most of our calls from the public can safely be managed at home," she says. "We'll give you recommendations on what you can do to help minimize any problems, but we'll also tell you what to watch out for, just in case there's a problem."

More than two million poisonings are reported each year to the dozens of poison control centers in the U.S., with more than 90 percent occurring in the home.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA