Posted March 30, 2013 by Carol Martin in Hot Topics

Ask the Pharmacist: Poison prevention starts at home

It&rsquos a significant problem with a simple solution. Nearly 1 million children below the age of 5 are exposed to potentially poisonous medicines and household chemical compounds, according to the Centers for Disease Manage and Prevention (CDC). There is no greater time than now to find out more about stopping accidental and unintentional poisonings.

&ldquoParents know to hold household cleaners and other chemicals out of a child&rsquos reach, but in my experience as a pharmacist, I&rsquove noticed that they don&rsquot always believe about prescriptions, more than-the-counter drugs and vitamins,&rdquo says Paul Reyes, Express Scripts pharmacist and host of Ask the Pharmacist radio series.

The CDC reports that a lot more than 60,000 young children finish up in the emergency area every year from wrongly ingesting medicines but it&rsquos not only parents who want to be aware of the risks. Many of these incidents occur outdoors of the kid&rsquos house. In fact, in 23 % of the instances in which a child below 5 mistakenly ingests an oral prescription drug, the medication belonged to somebody who did not reside with the child.

&ldquoMedications can keep us healthy, but can be very harmful if taken by the incorrect particular person or in the incorrect quantity,&rdquo says Reyes. &ldquoAdd in a kid&rsquos insatiable curiosity, and you have the ingredients for a very severe and unsafe circumstance.&rdquo

Reyes gives these tips for preventing accidental and unintentional poisonings, and what to do if you suspect your child or teen has ingested a potentially poisonous substance:

* Be cautious of colors: Drugs are colorful and desirable to youngsters, and can be mistaken for candy. For instance, Tums look like SweeTarts, and Advil and Ecotrin resemble Skittles or M&M&rsquos. Parents should not encourage youngsters to take their medicine by comparing it to candy, as this could lead to improper use.

* Lock it up: Don&rsquot leave your subsequent dose out on the counter where a child can reach it. Lock up all medicines and vitamins in a cool, dry spot. Tightly secure caps and hold medicines in their original labeled containers so if there is an emergency, you can inform healthcare personnel precisely what the kid ingested.

* When not to share: Be certain to remind youngsters that they ought to in no way share their medication. When playing &ldquodoctor,&rdquo pals and younger siblings of these taking a medication are typically the recipients this can lead to accidental poisoning.

* Know your numbers: If the kid has collapsed or is not breathing, dial 911 instantly. If the kid is awake and alert, get in touch with the Poison Hotline at 800-222-1222 and stick to the operator&rsquos directions. If possible, have obtainable the victim’s age and weight, the container or bottle of the poison, the time of the poison exposure and the address where the poisoning occurred.

* Know the signs: Reactions to ingested drugs or household items may possibly differ. Look for indicators such as vomiting, drowsiness and any residue odor in the child’s mouth and teeth. But know that some merchandise lead to no quick symptoms, so if you suspect that your child has ingested a potentially hazardous substance, contact the poison hotline immediately.

* Keep calm: It&rsquos critical to stay calm so you can successfully communicate with emergency personnel. If the child ingested medicine, do not give something to the kid by mouth till advised by the poison manage center. If chemical compounds or household products have been swallowed, get in touch with the poison manage center right away or follow the very first help guidelines on the label.

For more details and further tips on stopping prescription drug abuse at home, check out lab.express-scripts.com.

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Carol Martin