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December 2008 Chirurgeon's Message

Watch out for Holiday Poisons

Holidays can be a joyous time for children and adults alike. But often decorations, entertaining and other festivities can distract individuals from taking precautions.

Be alert to potential dangers and take these steps to keep your family and pets safe:

Make sure guests' medicines are out of reach of children and pets. Guests, especially grandparents, often carry medicine in their purses or suitcases where curious children might find them.

Keep common baking ingredients such as vanilla and almond extract out of reach. They contain high levels of alcohol and may be harmful if swallowed.

Keep poisonous plants out of reach. Some dangerous holiday plants include: azalea, Christmas cactus, Christmas rose, crown of thorns, English and American ivy, and Jerusalem or jimson weed. Holly and mistletoe berries also are poisonous.

Avoid using artificial snow sprays to decorate. They can cause lung irritation and should not be inhaled.

Make sure alcoholic drinks and containers are out of reach. Holiday beverages such as eggnog that contain alcohol may be sweet and inviting.

EMERGENCY ACTION FOR POISONING

FIRST STEPS AFTER AN ACCIDENTAL EXPOSURE

What Do I Do?
REMAIN CALM

For UNCONSCIOUS patients, CONVULSIONS, or any DIFFICULTY BREATHING,
call 9-1-1.

Otherwise call the Poison Control Center TOLL FREE NUMBER. 1-800-222-1222

Information the Poison Center Specialist Will Need:

  • AGE and WEIGHT of the person.
  • WHAT was ingested. Have the bottle or container with you.
  • HOW MUCH was taken. This will help the Poison Center Specialist determine the severity of the incident.
  • HOW the victim is feeling or acting right now.
  • Your NAME and PHONE number.

EYE - Flood the eye with lukewarm water Repeat for 15 minutes. Encourage patient to blink while flushing the eye. Do not force the eyelid open.

SWALLOWED MEDICINE - Do not give anything by mouth until calling for advice

CHEMICAL OR HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS - Unless patient is unconscious, having convulsions, or cannot swallow - give a small amount of water. Then call for professional advice to find out if patient should be made to vomit. Do NOT induce vomiting unless recommended by your physician or the Poison Center.

INHALED - Immediately get patient to fresh air. Avoid breathing fumes. Open doors and windows. If victim is not breathing, call for help and start assisted (mouth-to-mouth) breathing.

SKIN - Remove contaminated clothing and flood skin with water for 15 minutes. Then wash gently with soap and water and rinse.

The Poison Control Center's hotline is the nationwide phone service for immediate, free and expert treatment advice and assistance over the telephone in case of exposure to poisonous, hazardous or toxic substances. Call toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and poison information providers answer the phones. Calling them could prevent a trip to the emergency room.


THL Blase di Angelo
Kingdom Chirurgeon


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