Prevent Accidental Poisoning

More than 80 people die every day from accidental poisoning. Another 1,941 wind up in the emergency room.

Despite safety caps and better labeling, the number of deaths from unintentional poisoning continue to rise. To combat these tragic accidents, officials at the Centers for Disease Control are urging Americans this week to focus on steps that can keep everyone safe from accidental poisoning.

Most poisoning deaths – 93 percent – are a result of drug overdose. People most commonly die from opioid pain medications such as methadone, hydrocodone and oxycodone. Always follow your doctor‘s directions for taking medication.

It’s important to keep all medications, especially opioids, in a safe place that can only be reached by adults or the person who is supposed to take them. About 71,000 children are treated in the emergency room every year because of medication poisoning (excluding recreational drug overdoses). Eight out of 10 had taken someone else’s medication because they weren’t being supervised.

It can happen fast. A parent puts their medication on the counter and then leaves the room to answer the door. Sometimes they forget to put their medicine cap on securely. Or they leave the bottle on the table where a child can reach it.

CDC officials recommend storing medicine in a childproof medicine cabinet that cannot be reached. Parents have reported their children finding and swallowing pills from visiting guests who leave them in a jacket pocket, purse, or pill box within their reach.

Never refer to medicine as “candy.”

Call 911 if you have an emergency. If the person or child who may be poisoned is awake and alert, call 800-222-1212.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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