#SeasonalSafety: Medication Poisonings
Medication Poisoning: An Overlooked Danger
It’s the night of your family’s holiday party, and everyone gathers around the dining room table for a delicious meal. By the front door, there is a pile of coats, shoes, purses and bags, a messy-but-comforting reminder that your home is full of loved ones. You aren’t even aware that danger could be lurking inside the pocket of Grandpa’s old coat, or deep down in your aunt’s purse.
82% of American adults take at least one type of medication. Additionally, 29% of adults take five medications or more. Common medications include those that treat cholesterol and high blood pressure, and over-the-counter remedies, like cough syrup. No matter the medication, ingesting it can have serious effects on someone who isn’t prescribed to take it. For a child, an accidental ingestion of medication is incredibly serious.
Medications are the leading cause of childhood poisonings. In 2013, medicine poisonings resulted in over 59,000 children visiting the emergency room. In 86% of these incidents, the medication belonged to a family member. When a relative isn’t used to children around the house, they may forget to take precautions with their medication. When there is medication within reach, a curious child may accidentally eat it and induce an accidental overdose.
Prevention of Medication Poisoning
Be sure that relatives are aware of the dangers their medications could cause. Keep purses and other bags in high locations, out of reach of children. Do not leave medications sitting out on tables or nightstands.
Set a good example for your kids about medications. Don’t treat vitamins or other medications as candy, as they will give them the idea that medications are okay to consume. Teach young children to not eat anything without asking you first.
In the event of an accidental poisoning, call the Poison Help line or 911. Don’t let a mishandling of medication ruin a family dinner.
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