The VI Department of Health has joined its national healthcare colleagues in recognition of 2022 National Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26.
Poisonings are becoming a greater public health concern as evidenced by data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), which indicates 90% of poisonings happen at home and that the majority of these poisonings involve children, age five or younger.
The purpose of the weeklong recognition is to prevent accidental poisonings and to bring awareness to the poisoning risks associated with household products, medicines, pesticides, plants, bites and stings, food poisoning and fumes. It is hoped that increased public awareness of the inherent dangers in these items will prevent a greater number of deaths due to poisoning.
To assist Americans to become better informed about poisoning dangers, the Poison Prevention Hotline also known as ‘Poison Help’ was established in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. The hotline is available to Virgin Islanders by phone (1-800-222-1222), on the internet at www.poisonhelp.org or by texting POISON to 797979.
Whether someone has a question, or an actual emergency, the Poison Help phone line has collaborative teams of physicians, pharmacists, nurses and health educators standing by to answer requests for information or assistance. Its fast, accurate and its available when people need help the most.
For the public’s convenience, DOH shares some poison prevention tips from the American Association of Poison Control Centers (www.aapcc.org):
- If you think someone has been poisoned, call 1-800-222-1222 right away. Serious poisonings don’t always have early signs.
- Put the number for your poison control center (1-800-222-1222) in your cell phone and near home phones.
- Keep medicines and household products in their original containers in a different place than food.
- Always read product labels and follow any directions.
- Keep household products and medicines locked up. Put them where kids can’t see them or reach them.
- Buy products with child-resistant packaging. But remember that nothing is childproof.
- Never call medicine “candy.” Poisons may look like food or drink. Teach children to ask an adult before tasting anything.
- Learn about products and drugs that young people use to get “high.” Talk to your teen or pre-teen about these dangers.
- Have a working carbon monoxide alarm in your home.
Virgin Islanders are reminded to call 911 for all life-threatening emergencies.