Simple actions can make a difference. In as little as a minute, a child or an elderly person can be harmed, just by assuming something blue is the refreshing sports drink they saw carried into the house. Instead, it may be windshield wiper fluid, mouthwash, or a rinsing agent for the dishwasher. Each can poison an unsuspecting person in very little time.
These “look a-like poisons” are often around our homes, garages, and offices. Apple juice can look like household cleaners or mouthwash. Even candy coated chocolates can look like OTC (over the counter) pain relievers and aspirin. Kids, especially at risk for look a-like poisonings, can get into trouble with colorful individual detergent packets, which can resemble striped candies and lollipops.
Students from Cedarville University’s School of Pharmacy have gone into two area churches this year to present materials based on the Poison Control Center’s program Quills Up, Stay Away! This program is designed for children ages 3-7 to introduce them to the concept of poison and where such things can be found at home. The main message was to teach children that poisons exist at home (including medicine) and that if they don’t know what something is; they shouldn’t touch, taste, or smell it.
Throughout the campaign, the students worked with 39 children. A similar campaign will take place next year.
Helpful things to consider:
—If you wear glasses, always wear them when taking medicines and turn the light on, to double check both the medication label and the appearance of the medicine, before consuming medications.
—Medications can be placed securely up from easy reach of children—look to place them in a dry area in a lockable container.
Pharmacists can provide information, not only about your family’s medications, but also, about protecting your family from unintentional poisonings. Talk with your local pharmacist about ways to improve the storage of your medications and other household items. Take time this week to visit your pharmacist to speak about your own concerns. Poison Prevention can also be discussed with local Poison Control Centers around the state. For POISON HELP, call 1-800-222-1222.
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