Summer Hazards

Posted in:
Animal Venom
Insects & Spiders
Pesticides & Repellents

Our Texas Poison Center Network (TPCN) would like to remind you of some of the dangers associated with the warm summer season. With school out and children moving to new environments like day care, summer camp, and staying with relatives, come new hazards and potential poisonings. Taking the time to identify and discuss these potential hazards with your children and their caretakers can save you time, money, and lots of worries. Remember that the poison center is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year in both English & Spanish for all your poison related needs at 1-800-222-1222.

Indoor Safety

Now that school has ended, many children find themselves in a new home or daycare for the summer. A new environment brings new potential hazards for the little ones. Make sure you look for possible hazards like household cleaning products, new/old medications, chemicals in the garage, plants, and other potential hazards with your child. Caution both your children and their caretaker. Remember that kids are curious and love to explore their surroundings.

Outdoor Safety

As children participate in outdoor activities, remember some of the hazards associated with outdoor living.

  • Sunscreens & tanners- these contain oils and other potentially toxic ingredients that can be harmful if swallowed- do not apply on hands, mouth or near the eyes.
  • Insect Repellants- these can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, and if swallowed can cause serious complications.
  • Pesticides and Insecticides- these can be absorbed through the skin and some even through clothing or shoes.
  • Plants- know the names of the plants in your home and yard and always try to keep poisonous plants away from children and pets.

Bites and Stings

The number of bites and stings from insects, spiders and snakes increases greatly during the summer months. Most bites from scorpions, bees, wasps, ants, centipedes, millipedes, and most spiders only result in minor pain, irritation, and local swelling. Although bites from a black widow spider and a brown recluse spider can be very dangerous, most cases can be treated at home; snake bite victims should be referred to an emergency room. Don’t forget to call the poison center to receive treatment recommendations on how to help alleviate the symptoms associated with these types of bites and stings.

In addition, any bite or sting can cause an allergic reaction. Signs of an Allergic reaction may include:

  • Facial swelling or general body swelling
  • Rash over part or entire body
  • Labored breathing or difficulty swallowing
  • Sweats, chills, nausea or vomiting
  • Burning and itching of the hands, feet, neck or site of the wound
  • High or low blood pressure
  • In severe allergic reactions, these symptoms may lead to anaphylactic shock or even death.

Black Widow

Symptoms Include: Abdominal pain, severe muscle pain, alternating salivation/ dry-mouth, skin irritation and profuse sweating.

Brown Recluse

Symptoms Include: Generalized itching, fever, and a red, black, and white ringed blister, which can burst and cause sever tissue damage.

Rattle Snake

Symptoms Include: Severe pain, burning, swelling, bruising, numbness, nausea, weakness, & difficulty breathing.


About 2 million Americans are allergic to the venom of stinging insects. Many of these individuals are at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions. In the U. S., approximately 50 deaths each year are attributed to allergic reactions to insects.