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Take steps to prevent poisonings at home

The Michigan Poison Center at Wayne State University School of Medicine responded to nearly 61,000 calls in 2020 related to potential poisonings; more than 32,000 involved children ages 0 to 19. To raise awareness of the dangers of potentially poisonous medicines and chemicals, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is joining the Michigan Poison Center in recognizing March 21-27 as National Poison Prevention Week.

More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the nation’s poison centers. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, approximately 90% of poisonings happen at home. Over 83% of exposures involve swallowing a substance (49% of those exposures involve medications and pharmaceuticals).

“By educating Michiganders about preventative steps they can take in the home and in their lives, I believe we can make serious progress in keeping our loved ones safe,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “It is vital that people learn about basic information on poison prevention in the home, such as keeping chemicals out of the reach of children and carefully reading the labels and dosages on all products. Everyone should also know the national poison center number – it is an important resource for managing accidental exposures.”

Last year in Michigan, 58 percent of adult Poison Control Center calls were managed at home without requiring medical intervention and 80 percent of pediatric calls were kept out of the emergency department.

MDHHS recommends the following measures to reduce the risk of poisonings:

– Keep all chemicals, including medications, out of the reach of children and keep them in their original containers.

– Carefully read the labels and dosages on all products before using.

– Keep products in their original containers.

– Do not mix chemicals.

– Have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home.

-Program the National Poison Control number in your phone: 800-222-1222.

To learn more about ways to keep people of all ages safe and help prevent poisonings, visit the Poison Help Web site at Poison Help.

In the event of a poison emergency, contact the Michigan Poison Center at 800-222-1222 and a poison expert will tell you exactly what to do. If someone is unconscious or has trouble breathing, call 911 immediately.

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