March 18-24, 2012 marks the 50th Anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW). The key goal of NPPW is to create national awareness about the risk of injury or death due to poisoning. From unintentional child poisonings with household products to prescription medicine abuse, poisonings and poisoning-related incidents have a nationwide reach.
HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes Lead Hazard Control (OHHLHC) recognizes the importance of poison prevention, and urges the public to use the week as a reminder to be cautious with poisons. Also, OHHLCH wants to alert the public that poisonings can occur anywhere, at any time, to anyone. Here are a few facts:
- Poisoning is now the leading cause of death from injuries in the United States – ahead of motor vehicle crashes and guns.
- Every day in the U.S., more than 80 people die as a result of an unintentional poisoning, and nearly 2,000 are treated in an Emergency Room.
- Poisonings don’t just happen to children; they happen to everyone (toddlers, teens, adults, and seniors).
If you suspect someone has been poisoned, call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222 and follow this emergency guidance:
- If the person is unconscious or having trouble breathing, call 911.
- If the person inhaled poison, get him/her fresh air right away.
- If the person has poison on the skin, take off any clothing that the poison touched and rinse skin with running water for 15-20 minutes.
- Do not use activated charcoal when you think someone may have been poisoned.
- Do not wait for signs of poisoning before calling Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222. Treatment for poisoning depends on the type of poison. When you call Poison Help, have the container of the product you think caused the poisoning nearby and be ready to provide information about the affected person.
Do you have these products in your home: bleach, batteries, oven cleaner, shoe polish, toilet and drain cleaners, bug spray, mercury thermometer? All of these products are dangerous, especially for children. OHHLHC has issued its Healthy Homes Program Guidance Manual which includes two of the Seven Principles of a Healthy Home – Keep it Safe, and Keep it Contaminant Free. All products that may be dangerous, including poisons, should be kept in secure locations and out of the reach of children. HUD stresses the importance of using these products safely by following the directions on the label.
To Help your Neighborhood Networks Center participate in the 50th Anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week the themes for the Seven Days of Poisoning Prevention are:
- Sunday: Poisonings Span a Lifetime
- Monday: Children Act Fast, So Do Poisons
- Tuesday: Poison Centers: Saving Lives 24/7
- Wednesday: Take Your Medicines Safely
- Thursday: Home, Safe, Home
- Friday: Poison Prevention Superhero: Share Your Stories
- Saturday: 50 Ways to Prevent Poisonings
For more information about the daily themes, to participate in the poisoning awareness events, or to find a complete list of partners involved in the NPPW, visit poison prevention.
Also don’t forget to check the following websites :
Medline Plus for trusted health information on poisoning;
The Environmental Protection Agency to increase awareness of the danger to children of poisonings from pesticides and household products and;
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for tips on medication storage.