National Poison Prevention week targets medication safety
March 18-24, 2007
The Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention Serving Massachusetts and Rhode Island along with Children's Hospital Boston are observing this year's National Poison Prevention Week, March 18-24, 2007. This year's focus will be medication safety.
"Every day we receive calls from Massachusetts residents who have concerns regarding dosing errors when taking medications," said Dr. Michele Burns Ewald, MD, Medical Director of the Regional Poison Center and attending physician at Children's Hospital Boston's Emergency Department. "Most poison exposures can be treated over the phone with a poison specialist at the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention, so it is vital to have the poison hotline number readily accessible at all times."
A poster campaign emphasizing proper measurement and administration of medication will be featured on MBTA subways and station platforms during National Poison Prevention Week. Telephone stickers, refrigerator magnets, and informational brochures with the Center's contact information are available free of charge by calling 1-800-222-1222.
The Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention provides 24-hour treatment advice to health care professionals and the public on all types of poisoning including: taking medications properly, swallowing poisonous household products, exposure to biological and chemical substances, and inhalant abuse. In 2006, the Center responded to over 52,000 poisonous exposure and information calls from people in Massachusetts. Over 75% of the exposure calls received were treated at the site of the call. "By providing treatment advice over the phone, the Center prevents unnecessary visits to the emergency department -- saving the health care system time and money," said Burns Ewald.
Most poisonings can be prevented. It is especially important to minimize risk by taking precautions to poison proof your home. The Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention recommends the following poison prevention tips:
- Place a free 1-800-222-1222 sticker on every phone in your home. Call if you suspect a poisoning emergency or if you have any poison-related questions.
- Store household items in their original containers; NEVER in food containers or jars.
- Read and follow directions carefully when using medicines and household products.
- Always have the light on when giving or taking medications and be sure to check dosage every time.
- Be aware of look-a-like products such as apple juice and pine cleaner.
- To avoid confusion, teach children to always ask before eating or drinking anything.
- Discontinue use of syrup of ipecac for home treatment as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Pediatrics 112 (5): 1182-1185)
- Use child-resistant packaging for medications and household products, but remember child-resistant is not child-proof. Keep potential poisons out of reach of children at all times.
Help us prevent poisonings! If you would like additional information regarding National Poison Prevention Week or the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention Serving Massachusetts and Rhode Island, please call 1-800-222-1222 or visit www.MARIpoisoncenter.org.
Founded in 1869 as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is the nation's leading pediatric medical center, the largest provider of health care to Massachusetts children, and the primary pediatric teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. In addition to 347 pediatric and adolescent inpatient beds and comprehensive outpatient programs, Children's houses the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries benefit both children and adults. More than 500 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, nine members of the Institute of Medicine and 10 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. For more information about the hospital visit: www.childrenshospital.org.
Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention serving Massachusetts and Rhode Island