Toxic Topics

FDA Encourages Americans to Dispose of Unused Prescription Opioids Safely

More than 100 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, and millions are addicted to opioids. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched Remove the Risk, an education and outreach campaign to raise awareness about the serious risks of keeping unused prescription opioids in the home and to provide information about safe disposal of these drugs. Unused opioids—such as hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone—are dangerous to have in your home when they are no longer needed. Children or pets can accidentally take unused opioids or visitors might search for them in your drawers and medicine cabinets. Remove the risk of your unused opioids and help address the devastating opioid crisis affecting so many American families.…

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Infant Botulism

Infant Botulism is a very rare illness caused mainly by giving honey to a baby that’s between 3 weeks and 6 months old, but those who are under the age of 1 are at risk of getting this illness. The bacteria is called Clostridium Botulinum, which can sometimes be found in dust and dirt that forms spores. When it reaches the baby’s large intestines, it can cause serious health effects that can lead to weakness of the muscles, affect the nerves, and affect the baby’s ability to eat and breath. The reason this bacteria mostly affects infants under 1 year old is because they don’t yet have a mature digestive system that is able to handle the bacteria.…

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Get Otto’s Poison Discovery!

The Central Texas Poison Center (CTPC) has developed a fun educational book called Otto’s Poison Discovery. Otto’s Poison Discovery was created to reach pre-k through 2nd grade students and can be used within any setting, whether it is at school, home, or library.  While the Texas Poison Center Network provides free materials to the public for educational purposes, this book is an additional tool that is available for purchase. CTPC believes this book is a great benefit to providing education to the community through reading and engagement activities.…

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Severe bleeding linked to synthetic cannabinoid use

OUTBREAK RECOMMENDATIONS The CDC, local health departments, and local poison control centers are actively investigating more than 100 cases of severe bleeding among people who have used synthetic cannabinoids.The first case was reported in Illinois on March 10, 2018, and several other states have reported cases. If you have purchased a product like K2, Spice, or Synthetic Marijuana, do not use it. It may contain brodifacoum, a rat poison that causes severe bleeding. This severe bleeding disorder can be fatal. If you or a loved one experience excessive bleeding and have used a synthetic cannabinoid product, contact your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) and get medical help right away.…

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Keeping Your Family Safe Around Medicine

Today there are more medicines in the home than ever before, and this increases the potential risk to children of accidental medicine poisoning.   Every year, more than 59,000 young children are seen in emergency rooms because they got into medicine while a caregiver wasn’t looking.  Almost every minute of every day, there’s a call to a poison center because a young child got into medicine.  Most families believe they’re being careful about storing medicine away from children, but the alarming number of children being rushed to emergency rooms with medicine poisoning shows we need to do a better job to protect children from medicine poisoning.…

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Button Batteries…They Look Innocent

Many toys and electronics are powered by small disc batteries.  These batteries are often accidentally swallowed by small children, and sometimes adults.  Every year in the United States, more than 3,500 people of all ages swallow these miniature disc or “button batteries”.  A study of 2,382 cases of battery ingestions reported to a national registry showed that 44.6% of the batteries were obtained from hearing aids.  In 32.8% of these cases, the battery was removed from the child’s own hearing aid.  Occasionally, adults swallow disc batteries as a result of putting them in their mouths while changing batteries or mistake them for their pills. …

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The Dangers of Fentanyl

Many questions still remain about the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Prince in April 2016. However, a report released by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s office concluded that the singer died from an overdose of the opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl is a potent, synthetic opioid analgesic, with a rapid onset and short duration of action. It’s used intravenously in a hospital setting for relief of severe pain. It is also available on prescription in various forms. Transdermal patches work by slowly releasing fentanyl through the skin into the bloodstream over 48 to 72 hours, allowing for long-lasting pain management. Fentanyl lozenges and lollipops are a solid formulation of fentanyl citrate that dissolves slowly in the mouth for transmucosal absorption.…

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Child-Resistant is NOT Child-Proof

It seems as though those hard-to-open bottles have been around forever. And for new parents today, they have. But what is the reason and history behind the child-resistant packages? Back to the 1960s children were dying from poisonings in large numbers. The country developed an education program to warn parents of the dangers of household items but this was not enough. Children were still dying. It was decided that if a barrier was created between the children and household products and medicine, children would be safer. This led to the passage of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970. This law states: “The packaging required must be designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open within a reasonable time, and not difficult for normal adults to use properly.” Standards were created to determine if a package passes or fails a child test.…

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Don’t Google…Just Call!

Isn’t technology great!  We’ve become a technology-based society. If we want to go someplace, we use a GPS device instead of finding a map. Our music is played on devices that fit in the palm of your hand. If we need to look up a definition of a word, we reach for the computer or tablet or smart phone and use dictionary.com instead of reaching for the dictionary. If we have a question about anything, our first thought is to “Google It”. And there is a definite place for this technology. Usually, when you use search engines to find something on the internet, it takes some time to find the exact information you’re looking for.…

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New Study Points to Poisoning Dangers for Babies 6 Months and Younger

A new study raises awareness of the dangers of unintentional exposure to poisons for babies 6 months and younger. Traditionally, this has not been an age group that poison center educators have focused on, because infants aren’t up and walking about. But while a young baby may be less mobile, the data shows that babies are indeed finding their way to harmful objects. It also stresses the need for added parental/caregiver caution when giving medications to this age group. This study looked at calls made to all U.S. poison centers from January 2004 to December 2013 for babies 6 months and younger.…

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