This week, the Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health & Science University will join poison centers around the country to observe National Poison Prevention Week, which runs through March 22.
In 2013, the Oregon Poison Center received over 40,000 calls about poisoning incidents in Oregon. Of these, more than 43 percent involved children younger than six years of age. But, adults are at risk for poisoning, too.
The poison center’s most common calls for all ages concern pain-relieving medications, such as over-the-counter medications containing acetaminophen and narcotics like Vicodin and OxyContin.
“Poisonings can occur at anytime and to anyone; if the unthinkable happens, we are just a phone call away,” said Tonya Drayden, R.N., M.S.N., C.S.P.I., public education coordinator at the Oregon Poison Center at OHSU. “You are not alone in a poison emergency. Program your cell phone with the Poison Help number – 1-800-222-1222 – and post it near your home phone. Additionally, by following the three basic tips below, consumers have a much better chance of avoiding a poisoning incident.”
Three poison prevention safety tips:
- Store all medicines and household chemicals locked away and out of sight where a child cannot get them. Teach your children about Mr. Yuk and apply Mr. Yuk stickers to medicines and cleaning products. The Oregon Poison Center supplies these stickers or they can be obtained for free at any Safeway pharmacy.
- Take only medications that are recommended by your healthcare provider. Misusing or abusing any drug, whether prescription or over-the-counter, can be a deadly mistake.
- Dispose of unused, unneeded or expired prescription drugs. The stockpiling of left-over medications is an accident waiting to happen. Learn more about how to dispose of your unwanted prescription medications by vising the Oregon Health Authority’s website, which has detailed instructions and a list of local collection sites near you.
Oregon Poison Center physicians and nurses are committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of everyone through poison prevention awareness and free, confidential, 24/7 expert medical services in order to help those who have been exposed to toxic substances.