The leading cause of poisoning comes from products found in our own cabinets at home. Household chemicals and medications are the cause of both accidental and intentional poisoning. Three hundred young people are treated daily and approximately two children die per day due to chemical and medication poisoning.
Types of Poisoning:
There are several ways a person can become poisoned by medication and by household chemicals. Some of these include:
- Taking more medication than prescribed
- Taking more than recommended of over-the-counter products (e.g. cold and cough medications, pain and fever relievers, as well as vitamins and herbals)
- Taking medication in conjunction with drinking alcohol
A common place for storing household cleaners is in a cabinet under the sink or in a closet. Pesticide chemicals are often found on a shelf or bench in the garage or shed. These locations are often the first and most convenient spots curious children may explore.
- Household cleaners
As a means to enhance cleaning methods or create more effective disinfectants people often mix their chemical products. This too is very dangerous as doing so can produce toxic gases leading to poisoning.
- Mixing chemicals
While a vast number of emergency room visits come from poisoning due to medication and chemical intake, it is by no means an unpreventable problem. In fact, the solutions for preventing these extreme health risks are perhaps the easiest among all health problems in our country today:
- Place them out of reach of children
- Lock them up
- Have Poison Control numbers readily available
American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222
Lafayette Poison Control: (765) 423-6699
- Call 911 if child or individual is unresponsive or stopped breathing
- Read warning labels and instructions on medication and chemical products
- Dispose of expired or unused medications and chemicals
Getting rid of expired and unused chemicals and medications is key to creating a home environment safe for your children and family. Self-disposal is a quick and simple process for dealing with your prescription medications. Follow these few simple steps:
- Pour medications into sealable plastic bag
- Add water to dissolve
- Mix with kitty litter or coffee grounds
- Seal bag
- Put in trash
- Remove and destroy labels from bottles
Take-back days are another method you can use to get rid of your expired or unused medications. Every second Thursday of the month the West Lafayette Police Department offers to take and dispose of your unwanted medications for you from 11:30-1:30.
Taking these basic precautions and being prepared can make a life-time of difference for you and your family.