The Blue Ridge Poison Center (BRPC) at University of Virginia Health will join poison centers and partners across the country in celebrating the 61st Annual National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW), March 20-26. It is an opportunity to highlight the dangers of poisoning for people of all ages and to promote simple poisoning prevention tips for every household.
Young children can be harmed by cleaning products, medicines, pesticide or other household chemicals. These items should always be kept up and away out of the sight and reach of children. This may mean giving guests a safe place to store their belongings. Use child resistant containers whenever possible, and tightly close the safety cap every time.
Teens and adults can be poisoned, too. Common teen and adult poisonings include medicine mistakes, alcohol overdoses and handling or breathing harmful chemicals in the workplace or the home.
The Blue Ridge Poison Center stays on top of trends in substance misuse and other sources of poisoning injuries. In the past few years, poison centers across the U.S. have seen a rise in calls about the following:
• Cannabis edibles – young children are attracted to these because they look just like familiar treats. Many adults report problems with cannabis edibles, too. Products can be very potent and dosing is tricky. These are unregulated products often found to be contaminated with harmful ingredients.
• Liquid nicotine – this is the liquid inside an e-cigarette or vaping device, and is also called ‘vape juice’ or ‘e-liquid.’ The product is dangerous to swallow and can even be absorbed through the skin if spilled. As little as one teaspoon could be harmful.
• Cleaning products – read labels carefully-some products are safe to use on household surfaces but not on your skin. Drinking cleaning products is dangerous and does not prevent infection from germs such as the COVID-19 virus. Mixing cleaning products together could create a poisonous gas.
• Counterfeit medications “fake pills” – counterfeit pills are made by drug traffickers and sold illegally. Many are found to contain dangerous ingredients such as rat poison or deadly amounts of fentanyl or other drug. Only purchase medications from a licensed pharmacy or healthcare provider, and never take someone else’s prescription medicine.
Keep the toll free number to the Blue Ridge Poison Center near every phone, and store the number into your smartphone: 1-800-222-1222. If you suspect someone may have swallowed, touched, or breathed something harmful, or overdosed on any substance, experts at the center will tell you exactly what to do. Open 24 hours a day, every single day. This service is free and confidential.