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Miscellaneous: Toxic Exposure: Poison Prevention  Previous Next

Poison Prevention

by: Jacob Mabille

Every year a needless number of accidents occur involving poisons found in the home. Common household cleaning products as well as insecticides and other chemicals can be harmful and in some instances deadly to children and pets. March is Poison Prevention Month but with proper awareness and careful storage, we can prevent accidents involving poison every month.

A couple of years ago, my beloved cat accidentally got out of the house and ended up being a victim of antifreeze poisoning. Although it was never clear whether the poisoning was deliberate or accidental, his tragic death was needless and preventable.

Even the best-fed pets tend to rummage through garbage if given the opportunity. Dogs may chew on empty or partially empty containers. It’s in their nature just as young children are curious and may tend to explore low area cabinets such as under the sink where household cleaners may be stored. We can’t always protect our children and pets from every danger they may encounter but we can take measures toward poison prevention.

Don’t store household cleaning products, insecticides or other chemicals on low shelves or anywhere that young children may be able to reach. Don’t leave cleaning products setting out where children can get their hands on them, even when you are using them. In the time it takes to answer the phone or door an accident can happen. Always make sure that all lids are tightly secure.

Don’t use any type of rodent poison in an area where children may play or any place that is accessible to the family pets. The same precautions should be applied when using rat or mousetraps. Curious little fingers and paws could sustain injury. Be careful when letting pets outside. Neighbors may use chemicals around their homes to ward off rodents or in their gardens. Unsuspecting pets that are out for a stroll could become victims of such poisons. Try to keep cats indoors and walk your dog rather than letting them out by themselves. Automotive products such as antifreeze are deadly to pets. If containers are left outside or a vehicle is leaking such a product, an animal could be drawn to the harmful mixture. Be careful not to leave such items open in a garage or basement. If you keep your vehicle inside a garage that pets have access to, make sure you keep it maintained and check often for leaks or other hazards.

Medications and even some beauty products can be hazardous as well. Always be sure to keep medicines out of reach. Keep them on a high shelf, in a medicine cabinet or somewhere safe from small hands. Many medications now come with childproof caps that help to prevent accidental poisoning. They work rather well considering that sometimes adults have difficulty opening them.

Although Poison Prevention Month is all about preventing poisoning you should be prepared and know how to react in the event poisoning does occur. It may be difficult but try to remain calm. Call the Poison Control Center and get assistance. If the container is available or you know what the substance is, describe the type of poison that was ingested. Let the center know if you have any idea how much of the poison was consumed. Stay on the phone and listen carefully because you will be instructed how to proceed. Don’t give a child any water, milk or any other substance to dilute the poison or induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by the Poison Control Center. Although in some cases, such an action may be beneficial, depending on the type of poison, it could actually do more harm.

If you suspect a pet has been poisoned get the animal to a veterinarian immediately. Prevention is always the best medicine in any case. Keep all household products and toxic substances out of reach. Don’t let pets wander. Keep dogs on a leash when walking. Put safety first at all times.

Jacob Mabille writes for Health Guides & Articles where you can find more health tips and related articles. You may republish this article only if you retain resource box and active hyperlinks.

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