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Poisonings Wendy J. Pomerantz, M.D., M.S.. Definition Anything someone eats, drinks, breaths in, or gets in their eyes or on their skin that can cause.

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Presentation on theme: "Poisonings Wendy J. Pomerantz, M.D., M.S.. Definition Anything someone eats, drinks, breaths in, or gets in their eyes or on their skin that can cause."— Presentation transcript:

1 Poisonings Wendy J. Pomerantz, M.D., M.S.

2 Definition Anything someone eats, drinks, breaths in, or gets in their eyes or on their skin that can cause illness or death Can be solids, liquids, gases, or aerosols

3 Examples of Poisons Hair relaxer Hair removal products Mouthwash Liquid drain openers Toilet bowl cleaners Oven cleaners Lamp oil Plants Pesticides Furniture polish Windshield washer fluid Kerosene Cigarettes Antifreeze Turpentine Paint thinner Household Products/Chemicals

4 Examples of Poisons Contd Examples of Poisons Cont. Medications Prescription pharmaceuticals Over-the-counter Alcohols Gases and Fumes Carbon monoxide

5 Epidemiology Third leading cause of unintentional injury deaths and suicide deaths in the U.S. Report by poison control centers in 2000: million poison exposures - 500,000 people treated in healthcare facilities - 20,230 deaths 7.3 deaths/100,000 population nonfatal poisonings/100,000 pop.

6 Types of Poisonings Acute – Unintentional ingestions by toddlers – Suicide attempt by adolescents Chronic – Lead poisoning in children in old houses – Daily pesticide exposure in children living on farms

7 Poisoning Facts in Children A child is poisoned every 30 minutes in the U.S. 60% of all poisonings in kids less than 6 years old In 2000: – over 1.1 million unintentional poisonings in kids less than 5 years old – 26 kids less 12 years old died; 20 less than 6 years old In children less than 5 years old, more than 50% of all poisonings came from non-pharmaceutical products Immediately calling a poison control center may decrease the likelihood of severe poisoning

8 Risk Factors for Poisoning Unsupervised home setting African American race Males less than 5 years old Lower level of education Substance abuse Depressed adolescents Adolescent females

9 Cost Total annual cost more than $7.6 billion among children less than 14 years old. Children 4 years old and younger account for $5.1 billion Medical expenses average $925 per case Average cost of inpatient treatment is $8,700 Between 1996 and 1998, there were 1,252,904 years of potential life lost in the U.S. from poisoning deaths

10 Poisonings are Preventable Poisonings Are Preventable

11 Poison Prevention Tips Store all medications, including over-the- counter medications: – Out of sight and reach of children – In child-resistant bottles – In locked cabinets Be sure that caps of medications and household products are always on tight Do not remove child-resistant caps Never refer to medications or vitamins as candy Teach children about poisonous substances

12 Poison Prevention Tips Contd Poison Prevention Tips Cont. Keep purses and other bags with medications out of reach of children; remind visitors to do the same Do not take medications or give medications to others in front of children Store all household products and chemicals out of reach of children Be sure to return household products and chemicals to a safe place immediately after use

13 Poison Prevention Tips Contd Poison Prevention Tips Cont. Store all household products in their original, labeled containers; do not transfer to other containers such as soda cans, milk cartons, or water jugs Throw away old medications and other potential poisons that are not used anymore Use cabinet latches to prevent children from getting to household products and medications Never leave a child alone with medications or household products

14 Poison Prevention Tips Contd Poison Prevention Tips Cont. Know which plants in your home are toxic; be sure to keep toxic plants out of reach of children Make sure there is no peeling or chipped paint in areas where children eat, sleep or play Install functioning smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas Teach grandparents, other relatives and friends to take precautions before children visit their homes Keep poison control center number near all telephones

15 National Toll-Free Number National Toll-Free Number for Poison Control Centers

16 If a Poisoning Occurs Stay calm. If the poison is swallowed: do not give the child anything to eat or drink; do not make the person throw up or give Syrup of Ipecac unless directed by the poison center or a doctor and immediately contact the poison control center If the poison is inhaled, move the child to fresh air and immediately contact the poison control center If the poison is on the skin, remove contaminated clothing and rinse the skin with water for 10 minutes, then contact the poison control center If the poison is in the eye, flush the eye with water for 15 minutes, then contact the poison control center

17 If a Poisoning Occurs Contd If a Poisoning Occurs Cont. Contact the poison control center at and have the following information available: – Time the poisoning occurred – Product that the child was exposed to; have the container nearby – How much the child ingested – Any treatment given – Childs age, weight, and condition – Any preexisting medical problems – Your name and telephone number Follow instructions given by the poison center.

18 For Further Information Contact: – American Association of Poison Control Centers at – Your local poison control center – Poison Prevention Week Council at


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