Monday, September 22, 2014

Be careful: poisonings on the rise

Here's a way to help keep your family safe at home: Be careful what products you bring into the house.
Many of the cans, bottles and bags in your cupboards and closets can lead to poisoning or emergency room visits. It's important to mention this because the number of deaths in North Carolina has more than tripled, from 279 in 1999 to 947 in 2010, according to the Carolinas Poison Center.
More than 80,000 calls were related to animals.
A poison is anything that can cause harm if used improperly. Food, paint and even mothballs can be lethal. (Yes, mothballs. Avoid brands that include naphthalene, which can be absorbed through the skin.) But these are not the biggest problems.
Calls about children ages 5 and younger usually involve cosmetics and personal care products. Pain medicines led to the greatest number of calls. Nearly 50,000 people contacted the state’s poison center in 2010 and 2011.
One of the best ways to lower the risk for poisoning is by choosing products that are nontoxic or less toxic. Use vinegar or baking soda for cleaning instead of household chemicals.
Pay attention to packaging, too. If a potentially toxic product comes in a container that looks similar to a soft drink that you buy, stay clear of it, especially if the liquid inside the container is also the same color. While you’re at it, give a second thought to any cleaning product that resembles a beverage.

Karen’s blog:; on Twitter @sullivan_kms