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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 03/17/00
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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Poison Prevention Tips

Cincinnati--Earl Siegel, PharmD, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine and codirector of the Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC), affiliated with Children's Hospital Medical Center and the UC Medical Center, says "most poisoning accidents are preventable." Statistics show 42 percent of all home poisonings occur in the kitchen, 21 percent in the bathroom and 12 percent in the bedroom.

DPIC representatives say some of the more dangerous products include: acetaminophen, antifreeze, carbon monoxide, berries, mushrooms, camphor, fuel, insecticides, iron preparations, pool chemicals, rat poisons, and rubbing alcohol.

If poisoning occurs in the Greater Cincinnati area, residents can call the DPIC 24-hours a day, 7-days a week at (513) 558-5111 for immediate assistance.

The following helpful hints from the DPIC can be used to prevent and treat poisonings, and potentially to save lives:

To Prevent Poisonings:

  • Keep all household chemical products and medicines (especially iron pills) locked up and out of sight of youngsters.
  • Store all medicines separately from household products.
  • Store all household products away from food products.
  • Keep items in their original containers.
  • Leave the original labels on all products and read the label before using.
  • Refer to medicine as "medicine" not "candy."
  • Avoid taking medicines in front of children, as youngsters tend to imitate grown-ups.

If You Suspect Someone has been Poisoned:

  • Stay calm.
  • Do not wait for symptoms to appear.
  • Call the Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center (Poison Control Center) at (513) 558-5111.
  • Be prepared to give the facts (age, weight, etc.).
  • Have the label ready when you call.
  • Listen carefully and follow instructions exactly.
  • Always have a bottle of ipecac syrup on hand but never use it unless instructed to by the Poison Control Center or a physician.

Most Poisonings Happen:

  • During holidays, illnesses, moving, vacations, stressful times and celebrations.
  • Whenever a product is in use.
  • When products are carelessly or improperly stored.
  • When package directions for herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers and medications are ignored.
  • When visiting a grandparent or friend.
  • When children are hungry or thirsty.
  • When teens or adults become angry or depressed.
  • When someone becomes confused and disoriented.

Poisoning Statistics:

  • 79 percent of all poison control center cases involve childrenó64 percent are children under age 5.
  • An estimated one in five children will be exposed to a potential poison before age 5.
  • Nationally last year, 1.2 million children under age 5 exposed to potentially poisonous substances.
  • An estimated 70 percent of accidental poisonings are preventable.


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