SMART LIVING: Poison prevention month

A poison is any substance that can cause harm or death. However, not all poisons are obvious.
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 5:25 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2023 at 6:33 PM CDT
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ORLANDO, Fla. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - March is poison prevention month.

A poison is any substance that can cause harm or death. However, not all poisons are obvious.

Each year, more than two million people are reported accidentally poisoned in the U.S. An estimated 75,000 children under the age of five end up in the emergency room from poisoning. Most are preventable.

Whether it’s your eye shadow, toothpaste, hair care products, nail polish remover, or hand sanitizer, all these things contain harmful chemicals that if ingested in large enough amounts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and skin irritation. Even some hair dyes can cause severe burns in the mouth and esophagus.

Most people have some type of pain medication in the house. Whether it’s over-the-counter acetaminophen or prescribed meds, a small dose can cause permanent liver damage and even kill a child.

Cleaning products often come in bright bottles that kids can’t help but notice. Experts said people should especially lock up laundry pods. Reports show that poison control centers receive one call every 42 minutes claiming a child has eaten a laundry pod.

According to the CDC, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of poisoning death. One place it comes from within your home is a gas range. Those most at risk are people with asthma.

Remember to keep your pets safe too. Some things you may not realize are poisonous to pets include diffusers with eucalyptus, cinnamon, and peppermint oils. The vapers can have significant health effects on your pets if inhaled. Pets can also get poisoned from inhaling secondhand marijuana smoke.

If you suspect that you or someone else has been poisoned, don’t wait for signs of poisoning. Immediately call the poison control helpline at 800-222-1222.

When it comes to food, old potatoes that have a greenish cast under the skin are toxic. The color comes from a substance called solanine.

Kidney beans, especially red kidney beans, contain toxins called lectins. As little as four or five raw red kidney beans can cause stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea. Be sure to cook them thoroughly.

Also, beware of black licorice. When you dig into a package of black licorice, you’re snacking on small amounts of poison. Black licorice contains a compound called glycyrrhizin and can cause a person’s potassium levels to drop. People over 40, or those who have heart disease or high blood pressure, are more likely to have this problem. It takes eating about two ounces per day for at least two weeks to see the effect.

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