Velocity Care uncovers the truth about common household poisons
Knowing the truth about poisonous substances and what to do in a poisoning emergency can mean the difference between life and death. There are many myths and misconceptions about poisons, some of which could impact your life or the lives of your loved ones if you believe them to be true.
Myth #1: It’s OK to share medication.
Many people believe that sharing medication is OK if they have the same medical condition or if they are experiencing the same symptoms. This, however, can be extremely dangerous. Doctors prescribe medications based on a patient’s individual needs and take into account a person’s weight, allergies and medical history. What may seem like a good choice for one person may cause a severe reaction or even death in someone else.
Myth #2: Kids aren’t interested in household chemicals.
You may assume that because household chemicals taste very bad, children will not consume them. While it’s true that bitterants are added to many cleaning products to make them smell and taste bad, this often isn’t enough of a deterrent to keep children away. Sometimes the color of a chemical is appealing, or, as is the case with dishwasher detergent pods, the chemical actually looks like candy. You should lock all household chemicals, pesticides and cleaning products away from children and pets.
Myth #3: Lead poisoning is no longer an issue.
Lead poisoning is a thing of the past, right? Wrong. Hundreds of children suffer the effects of lead poisoning throughout America each year. Although no new products are being produced with lead in them, there are still very high levels of lead in our environment from products of the past. Old paints and pipes still contain lead, and many of our water sources are contaminated as well.
Myth #4: Carbon monoxide makes you sleep.
You might think that someone who is exposed to carbon monoxide will immediately fall fast asleep. This is not usually the case. In many events of carbon monoxide poisoning, entire families start to feel mildly ill in the early stages, and it usually affects young children first. Symptoms such as mild stomach upset, headaches and dizziness will be the first signs. If multiple members of your family start to feel ill, look to carbon monoxide as the possible culprit and be sure to install a properly functioning carbon monoxide alarm in your home to keep you and your family safe.
Myth #5: Drink milk to neutralize poison.
In the past, people gave milk to someone who consumed a poisonous substance. It was believed that the properties in milk would help to neutralize the poison. However, studies show that milk does nothing to neutralize many toxic substances and might make the situation worse. Do not offer food or drink to someone who has consumed poison without seeking the advice of a poison control center or 911 first.
Myth #6: Induce vomiting.
It may be your first thought to induce vomiting in someone who has consumed a poisonous substance. For many years, people gave ipecac syrup to encourage throwing up. Vomiting, however, may make a poisoning situation worse and should be avoided unless you are instructed to do so by a poison control center or by emergency medical personnel.
Myth #7: You should only call Poison Control if it’s an emergency.
Poison control centers are not just for life-threatening emergencies. The staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you with all of your poison-related questions and are fully trained to help in every circumstance. They are an excellent resource and you should keep the number handy in the event that you or a family member may need assistance.
If you or a loved one has consumed a poisonous substance, or if you have questions about poisoning, please contact the local poison control center for your area.
Arkansas Poison Hotline
Louisiana Poison Control Center in
Your local Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center is available to help as well. The health and well-being of your family is our primary concern, and our staff of trained professionals offers efficient service with little to no wait time. We have convenient locations throughout Arkansas and Louisiana to serve all of your medical needs.
Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo
This site offers medical, health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. General information found on this website is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your health care professional. If reading after hours, one option for treatment is to seek an urgent care or walk-in clinic for medical advice.