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Poison Prevention Week – March 14 – 20, 2010

In recognition of Poison Prevention Week, March 14-20, the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES) is launching “7 Days and 7 Ways to Safety,” a campaign providing simple daily tips that New Jersey residents can follow in order to ensure a safer home or work environment.

As part of the week’s ongoing activities, the Poison Center will post a “tip of the day” on its Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/NJPIES) for improving home safety. Simple steps such as locking up medications or dangerous substances and avoiding the use of containers commonly used for food storage to store nonfood substances will be highlighted. It addition, the campaign will post a daily case study and a photo of products commonly mistaken for each other that cause confusion.

Children under the age of 6 are at greater risk for unintentional poisoning.  Common mishaps occur with look-alike products. One example is over-the-counter cold medication tablets being confused with candies such as M&Ms and Skittles. Exposures among young children typically account for 50% of all calls received by the New Jersey Poison Center.

“We recommend that medicines, liquids and cleaning agents never be removed from their original packaging,” notes Alicia Gambino, NJPIES director of public education. Her reasoning is twofold:

  1. Original packages contain all the ingredient information that allows a poison specialist to better access the protocol needed should someone accidentally come into contact with a toxic agent.
  2. Look-alike products such as tiki oil and apple juice or Ex-lax and chocolate are less likely to be mistaken when they remain in their original packaging.

“We are using Poison Prevention Week and the entire month of March to highlight our 24/7 accessibility to the public,” states NJPIES’ Dr. Marcus. “There are no silly questions, and trained staff is always available to answer a question, quell a fear, provide advice, or intervene to get emergency services on site and prepped to provide the needed protocol in the fastest response time.” He adds, “When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call 1-800-222-1222.”

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