According to the most recent data from the Illinois Poison Center, Illinois had approximately 80,000 calls to poison control in 2020, nearly half of which were regarding a child five years old or younger.
As part of National Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26, HSHS St. Mary's wants to inform the community about the dangers of potentially poisonous medicines and chemicals and share tips on how to keep your loved ones safe.
Accidental poison consumption can range from children swallowing soap or cleaning products to adults taking an unadvised dosage of certain medicines. Medical experts at HSHS St. Mary's remind everyone it is important to keep any potentially harmful products out of the reach of children and read labels carefully before taking any medications.
If you encounter someone who was potentially exposed to poisonous material:
- Call 911 if they are unconscious or having difficulty breathing.
- Remain calm.
- Most poison emergencies can be resolved quickly over the phone.
- Contact the Poison Control helpline.
- Online help is available at poison.org or by phone at 1-800-222-1222 if you are concerned that you or someone else has been exposed to a potentially harmful substance. Both options are free, expert and confidential.
Preventive measures are always the best way to protect your family from accidental poisoning. Some tips include:
- Place household cleaning products up and away, out of children’s reach and sight. Make sure to put cleaning supplies and chemicals away after every use.
- Keep all household cleaning products in their original containers. When buying products, look for child-resistant containers for an extra layer of protection.
- Check your home for products that might be harmful to kids like cleaning supplies, liquid laundry packets, plants, pesticides, alcohol and medicine. Keep personal care products such as lotion, makeup, cleanser and deodorant where kids can’t get into them.
- Be aware of any medications or makeup that may be in your purse, laptop bag or backpack. Store handbags out of the reach of young children.
For more information on how to protect yourself and your family, visit www.poison.org.