National Poison Prevention Week: here are 10 tips to keep you and your family safe

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By Katy Muldoon | kmuldoon@oregonian.com 

National Poison Prevention Week, which runs through March 22, seems a fine opportunity to share some tips from the Oregon Poison Center, which received 55,000 calls last year, more than 45 percent involving young children.

The most common calls for all ages have to do with drugs people take to relieve pain – from over-the-counter remedies, such as acetaminophen, to such narcotics Vicodin and Oxycontin.

Reach the center at 1-800-222-1222. Consider programming the number into your phone in case you need it.

The center, located at Oregon Health & Science University, offers around-the-clock information and treatment resources, and serves those who live in Oregon, Alaska and Guam. Plus, it has an information-richwebsite, from which we’ve gleaned these poison-prevention tips:

1. Store all medicines in a cabinet that’s locked or has child-resistant latches; keep them of reach of children and pets.

2. Only take medications recommended by your health-care provider.

3. Properly dispose of all unused, unneeded or expired prescription medication. Ask your pharmacist how.

4. Buy products with child-resistant caps – but remember: Child-resistant doesn’t mean child-proof. Tightly close caps of such things as toilet cleaners, drain openers, detergent, kerosene and antifreeze, all of which can be poisonous.

5. Be careful when using medicines or cleaners. If the phone or doorbell rings, close the cap securely before answering.

6. Never put poisonous substances in empty food bottles or containers.

7. Take the online “My Safe Home” tour

8. Check out this list of toxic plants considered poisonous if ingested. 

9. As gardening season begins, remember that all pesticides are poisonous and can seriously affect people, pets and wildlife.

10. Remember that the solvents used in some cleaning products can be poisonous; if you use them, make sure you’ve got good ventilation and that products are stored out of reach of children.

— Katy Muldoon

Courtesy of Oregon Live.

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