Each year, poison centers across the U.S. see an increase in poison exposures during the holiday season. Relatives and friends are visiting and parties are abundant. It’s easy to get distracted, even for a few minutes.
If you suspect a poisoning of any kind has occurred, call your poison center right away at (800) 222-1222. The Banner Poison & Drug Information Center is staffed with experienced, certified health care providers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays.
The following are some tips on how to have a safe and healthy holiday season.
Thawing turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature. The "danger zone" is between 40 and 140°F - the temperature range where food borne bacteria multiply rapidly. While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely, but as soon as it begins to thaw, bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin to grow again, if it is in the "danger zone."
Bacteria present on raw poultry can contaminate your hands, utensils and work surfaces as you prepare the turkey. If these areas are not cleaned thoroughly before working with other foods, bacteria from the raw poultry can then be transferred to other foods. After working with raw poultry, always wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces before they touch other foods.
Lock up medicines, especially when families visit. Many adult medicines can poison children, even if they swallow only one or two pills. Remind family members who might be visiting that a child is curious and may look into purses and bags or reach for medications on the counter.
Pines, Spruces, Balsam and Firs
Ingestion of small amounts may result in varying degrees of localized irritation and gastrointestinal upset. A primary concern would be aspiration or airway obstruction. Pinecones are not toxic, although contact dermatitis may result from handling.
Every year around the Fourth of July holiday, people are burned or injured by fireworks. Fireworks are a poisoning hazard, as well.
Fireworks often come in pretty, colorful packages that can look like candy to a child. If swallowed by children, adults or pets, the chemicals in fireworks can make them sick, so it's important to keep fireworks out of the reach of children and animals.
If you are concerned that someone may have eaten or swallowed fireworks, call the poison center at (800) 222-1222 right away. The poison center is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - even holidays.
With new toys come batteries. Button batteries are flat-shaped, coin-like batteries which are commonly used in watches, cameras, hearing aids, games and calculators, and are attractive to children and easy to swallow. If swallowed, they can get lodged in the esophagus (the tube leading from the mouth to the stomach), and this is a medical emergency. Store batteries as safely as you do medicines and household products.
Appoint one person to watch the children during an event, and then clean up all alcoholic beverages and ashtrays immediately after the guests leave. Cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco contain enough nicotine to be dangerous to children, who are known to eat whole cigarettes and drink from spittoons. Children can become intoxicated by a very small amount of alcohol. It can also cause a child's blood sugar to fall to dangerous levels.