April 24th, 2024

Viva Vitality: Poison Prevention Week – Tips for a Safer Home

By Medicine Hat News on March 15, 2024.

Each year, more than 4,000 Canadians lose their lives to poison. The amount of yearly unintentional poisoning deaths is now rated higher than transport-related deaths in Canada. In 2021, among the poison centers in Canada, there were a total of 187, 068 poison cases. Children are at higher risk for poisoning due to their smaller bodies and curiosity.

So, you may be thinking of generic items that can cause poisonings such as household cleaners or soap, but in reality, it can be more than household cleaners. Some of the other common poisoning items can be everyday items such as medications, cannabis products, laundry detergent and pods, personal care products such as perfume, mouthwash, and hand sanitizer, some indoor plants, and many more household items.

Among the previously listed items, medications are the number one leading cause of poisoning in Canada. More specifically, in 2021, medications used to relieve pain were the number one substance that Canada’s poison centers received calls about.

Here are some tips to prevent poisonings in your home:

1. Store all poisonous items locked up tight, out of sight and reach of children.

2. Always put medication away after use.

3. Keep visitors’ personal items such as bags and coats out of reach.

4. Keep medications, cleaners, and other products in their original and child-resistant packaging.

5. Do not mix cleaning products as it could cause a chemical reaction which could result in dangerous gases.

6. Check dosage amounts on medications before giving or taking medicine.

7. Ensure you have carbon monoxide alarms installed.

8. Ensure your child knows not to put berries, seeds, flowers, nuts, mushrooms or leaves from outside in their mouth.

In Alberta, if you suspect a poisoning call 1-800-332-1414 to reach the Poison and Drug Information Service (PADIS). If the individual loses consciousness or has difficulty breathing, call 911.

National Poison Prevention Week, recognized March 17 – 23, is an annual campaign that aims to spread the awareness of poison injuries that occur in Canada each year. To help spread awareness during poison prevention week use the hashtag #EmpowerPoisonPrevention.

For more information and resources visit:

https://www.injurypreventioncentre.ca/campaigns/poison-prevention

https://parachute.ca/en/program/poison-prevention-week/

Kiana Farrell is a practicum student with the Alberta Health Services South Zone Population and Public Health team.

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