As spring makes its arrival across the nation and motivates some spring cleaning, this week’s National Poison Prevention Week is a good time to reassess your living and working space. The third full week in March calls attention to the changes everyone can make to prevent poison control accidents.

 

National Poison Control Hotline 1- 800-222-1222

 

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), preparation is the key to preventing accidents and knowing what to do if they do happen. As a nurse, you can help those around you and spread the word that calling poison control and emergency help is the best first step in any suspected poisoning. Even if you have a question, calling poison control will put you in touch with experts who can help.

The National Capital Poison Center says young children are particularly at risk for accidental poisonings, but it can happen to anyone. Batteries are a particular threat to young children and are often overlooked.

Safe at Home

Home safety checks are one of the most important steps people can take to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. If you periodically run through your home with poison control safety in mind, you’ll be able to remove potential hazards that are often unnoticed. If you have small children at home or who visit your home, paying special attention to smaller objects or less obvious threats is critical.

Store these potentially hazardous items out of reach of small children:

  • medications, both prescription and over the counter
  • all household chemicals (laundry, cleaning, ironing, workshop, etc.)
  • personal care products including nail polish remover, sunscreen, hair products, contact lens products, mouthwash
  • bug spray, lawn chemicals, plant food
  • hand sanitizer and wipes
  • batteries
  • alcohol and tobacco products, vaping items
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Make sure any bags containing these items are also out of reach.

Safe at Work

As a nurse, you’re around potentially hazardous products throughout your working day. Try to be an advocate for poison control safety for your colleagues and for patients as well. Rigorous safety protocols are often in place for patient care and medication storage and delivery, but periodic assessment of processes is always worthwhile.

At work, cleaning chemicals are a potential problem, so it’s important for your staff to know that mixing chemicals can cause fatal vapors quickly.

First Aid

As a nurse, you’re familiar with first aid and poison control safety measures. But do your friends and family know what to do in an emergency? Equipping them with some basic guidelines can help them know the proper way to act if they’re ever in a possible poisoning situation.

The Health Resources & Services Administration offers these tips to familiarize people with what to do in an emergency. Because poison can be ingested by swallowing or inhaling or by absorption through the skin or eyes, it’s essential to know what to do to prevent causing additional harm. There are even instances when people should not administer any first aid themselves and should wait for professional care.

If something happens, you don’t want to have to search for the number to call. Post the Poison Control Hotline number 1-800-222-1222 in prominent places in your home, where you work, and notice if it’s posted in any daycare, elder care, camps, schools, or clubs where you or your loved ones frequent. You can also text POISON to 797979 to save the number in your mobile phone.

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Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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