Taking Precautions Around the Home Can Keep Your Holidays Jolly
PHOENIX (Dec. 9, 2011) – The holiday season typically is a time for fun and creating happy family memories. It can also bring the potential for accidental poisonings. The Banner Poison and Drug Information Center offers some advice to keep the kids and pets safe during the festivities.
If there are questions of whether something is dangerous, or if a poisoning has actually occurred, call the Banner Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. The center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The sap of the poinsettia is bitter and unpleasant, but the plant is not deadly. Poinsettias are listed as a toxic plant because they will cause irritation in the mouth if ingested and possibly vomiting. This is especially true with pets as they attempt to erase the bad taste from their mouths.
Holly and mistletoe
Both holly and mistletoe are very toxic if ingested. Berries of both plants can cause severe stomach illness or other problems. Real berries on both holly and mistletoe are often replaced with artificial berries that could pose a choking hazard if swallowed by a child.
Many snow sprays contain acetone or methylene chloride. This solvent can be harmful when inhaled. Briefly inhaling the spray in a small, poorly ventilated room may result in nausea, lightheadedness and headache. Longer or more concentrated exposures can be more serious. Carefully follow container directions. Be sure to have the room well ventilated when you spray. Once dry, the snow particles are non-toxic.
Angel hair is finely spun glass, which can be irritating to the skin, eyes, and the throat if swallowed. Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating.
Bubble lights contain a small amount of methylene chloride, which is also found in paint removers. Nibbling on an intact light or one "opened" light may cause mild skin or mouth irritation only.
These flat-shaped, coin-like batteries are commonly used in games, watches, cameras, hearing aids and calculators. They may, if swallowed, stick in the throat or stomach, causing serious burns as the chemical leaks out. Also, children may insert these small objects into their ears or nose.
Parents, grandparents and babysitters should be extra cautious during the holidays. Visitors often leave medicines on a nightstand or in the bathroom, making them easily accessible to children. Medications given to seniors often do not have child-resistant closures, allowing children to open them with very little difficulty. Also, purses of visitors may contain medicines and other potentially dangerous items. The homes of friends and relatives may not be poison-proof, particularly if children do not usually live there.
Other holiday hazards to children and pets
- Lamp oils can cause severe damage to the stomach linings
- Some aromatic oils can cause a deadly form of pneumonia in the lungs or seizures if swallowed.
- Children can find alcohol leftover from holiday parties, often in drink glasses that haven't been cleaned or in egg nog
- Decorations, while not toxic, may present a choking hazard.
If a poisoning has occurred, call the Banner Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 and follow the nurse's instructions.
During the busy holiday season, we often forget about our pets. Dogs are especially prone to poisoning as they can and often DO eat almost anything. Have the phone number of your veterinarian and the emergency vet number posted. Keep the poison center number handy. If you suspect a pet poisoning, do not wait to call. Prompt attention may make a crucial difference in your pet's health. To make your dog vomit at home (under the direction of a health professional), use 3 percent household hydrogen peroxide. Have a bottle on hand and always call the poison center or your vet before using it.
About Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center
Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center has been providing medical care to Arizona and the Southwest since 1911. Banner Good Samaritan is owned and operated by Phoenix-based Banner Health, a non-profit organization. The hospital was named to the 2011-’12 U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Hospitals” list for Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Geriatrics and Gynecology. Banner Good Samaritan has been recognized as a Magnet™ facility by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the highest honor a hospital can earn for its nursing care and practices, and has been named one of the Best Places to Work in the Valley by The Phoenix Business Journal and BestCompaniesAZ in 2007 and 2008 and one of the “Top 100 Hospitals to Work For” by Nursing Professionals magazine.