Friday, February 11, 2011

Today’s guest blog is by Jessica Wehrman, communications manager of the American Association of Poison Control Centers. AAPCC represents the 57 poison control centers across the United States and works to educate the public about poison centers and poison safety.

You can’t have a conversation about public health without talking about poisoning.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poisoning is the second-leading cause of accidental death in this country after car accidents. In 2009, more than 4 million people called their local poison centers, either to ask about poisons or report a poison exposure. Painkillers, personal care products and cleaning products were among the substances most often involved in poison exposures that year.

Poisoning is a very real and very present danger. It’s an epidemic with no signs of waning, but it’s one that offers easy and authoritative help: Poison centers.

You can connect to your local poison center anywhere in the United States by calling 800-222-1222. Poison centers offer free, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week and take calls in more than 150 languages and from the hearing impaired.

By calling 800-222-1222, you can, in the majority of cases, avoid an unnecessary and costly trip to the hospital. Calling a poison center is easier than unloading your dishwasher or ordering a pizza. And the peace of mind that comes from making the call is far more rewarding.

So why should you call? Many people only think to call poison centers if their child gets into the medicine cabinet. That’s one reason, but there are many other reasons to pick up the phone.

Call your poison center if:
·You’ve made a medicine mistake.
·You have questions about how two medicines might interact.
·You’ve been bitten by a critter.
·You’ve mixed household cleaners and are worried about the fumes.
·You have any questions about poisons or possible poisons.

You can also help yourself by working to prevent poisoning. Here are a few ways to do so:
·Have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home.
·Don’t take medicine in the dark or without your glasses.
·Read and follow the directions on the label before taking any medicine.
·If you have questions about the intended use of your medicine, contact your doctor.
·Talk to your doctor before taking natural or herbal supplements.
·Never use food containers such as cups or bottles to store household and chemical products.
·Store food and household and chemical products in separate areas.
·Keep products that could be poisonous in their original containers.
·Remember – there’s no such thing as “child-proof.” Still, make it harder for children to get
at possible poisons by using safety latches on drawers or cabinets.

Keep this number by your phone: 800-222-1222. When in doubt, check it out. It doesn’t have to be an emergency to call. Poison center calls are free and confidential, and in return, you’ll get advice from a medical expert. It’s one of the best deals in health care today. And all you have to do is remember to call. To learn more about poison prevention visit join APHA in celebration of National Public Health Week.

“The American Public Health Association encourages you to take action today and help keep key programs such as Poison Control Centers protected from sever budget cuts by telling your representative to protect public health funding."

1 comment:

fingerlakes said...

Good tips. Poison control centers play such an important role! I was really surprised to read awhile back that their funding/existence was endangered. It seems so counter-intutitive!