Poison prevention week aims to help raise awareness, reduce deaths

Poison prevention week aims to help raise awareness, reduce deaths (NTV News)

It's a call for help thousands of Nebraskans make year-round.

Every year during the annual National Poison Prevention Week, the Nebraska Regional Poison Center (NRPC) tries to help raise awareness by teaching how to prevent poisoning from happening to yourself and your loved ones.

The NRPC receives just under 40,000 calls annually where more than half of those calls involve children under the age of five.

Across the United States, poison centers receive nearly three million poisoning exposure calls each year. The most serious cases involve adults.

"It's really good just to get the word out just so parents and grandparents are aware of many of the dangers around their home and some of the things we might take for granted," said CHI Good Samaritan Trauma Outreach Coordinator Tracy Dethlefs.

According to NRPC, most poisoning deaths are due to misuse and abuse of drugs.

"Over 54 percent of the calls that come in are usually going to be on meds, but there are other things we get calls on too, household cleaning products like laundry detergent, automatic dishwasher detergent," said Nebraska Regional Poison Center Education Coordinator Joan McVoy.

"Several things in our homes and in our garages that might look like common household items. You might have cleaners that look like sports drinks, some of the medications may look like candy to children. We also have things like rat poison and mouse poison, which will look like granola. There are even some that are green that would look like a green tic tac," Dethlefs said.

NRPC encourages parents to store cleaning products and medications high and out of reach of children after every use but they found seven out of 10 parents aren't doing so.

"It's a good idea for parents to have the poison control center number plugged into their phone. We have easy access to that because of our smartphones. Even have a magnet on your fridge at home that would give you the poison control number," Dethlefs said.

The NRPC encourages anyone with any unused or expired medications take them to any of the national Drug Take-Back Day drop off points.

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