National Poison Prevention Week, What You Need to Know


National Poison Prevention Week beings March 16 and the Nebraska Regional Poison Center has some reminders and tips to keep you and your household safe.

Poisons aren't just dangerous chemicals, they can be anything that someone eats, breathes, gets in the eyes, or on the skin, that can cause a sickness or death.

A poison can be a drug or medication, which makes up over half of the calls the poison center receives. The fastest growing drug problem in the United States is the abuse of prescription medications.

It is estimated that 30,000 Americans will die from prescription drug abuse and overdoses this year. Poisonings are the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for ages 15 to 59, and a large portion of those are due to unintentional drug overdoses of prescription medications.

Other common poisons are household, garden or personal care products and chemicals at home and work. Plants, bites and stings and food poisoning are also common calls into the poison center along with any item that can give an individual an unwanted or unexpected reaction.

If you suspect yourself or someone else may have ingested or been exposed to a poison, don't wait for symptoms. If you wait for symptoms and then look up information on the Internet or even call your physician's office or local emergency room -- officials say you are wasting precious time.

Your first call should be to your poison center. The number is 1-800-222-1222 and they recommend that it be programmed into and located near every phone in the United States.

Nine out of ten calls to the poison center will be managed at home and it's unlikely that any other number you program into your phone that will save you more money or time. You will immediately talk to a registered nurse who is available every day of the year, at all times.