Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do people call the Nebraska Regional Poison Center about the most?
A: Over 50% of our calls are reguarding medications. Analgesics or pain relieving medications
are the most common category of medication calls. This includes ibuprofen, acetaminophen
(Tylenol) and aspirin-containing drugs. These are over the counter medications that
you could find in almost any household. It is important to store these and all medications
up out of sight and out of reach from children.
Q: Does Carbon Monoxide have an odor and how do I know if I have been exposed
A: Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, which is formed
when there is incomplete burning of carbon-containing fuels or improper venting.
This can take place with faulty furnaces and hot water heaters. Symptoms of carbon
monoxide poisoning can sometimes be mistaken for the flu. The symptoms include vomiting,
headache, weakness, fatigue and shortness of breath. It is important to get a carbon
monoxide monitor for your home and to have your gas appliances checked regularly.
Q: Are vitamins a problem if you eat too many of them? I thought they were good
A: Vitamins can be very good for you, but as with anything, if
you eat too much it may make you sick. The main concern is the vitamins that contain
iron. While iron is good in the recommended daily amount, too much iron can be harmful,
especially in children. Iron poisoning can cause symptoms of vomiting, bloody diarrhea,
drowsiness, shock, and in severe cases even death. It is important as with any medication
to keep these up and out of reach from children. Don’t refer to medications
as candy when giving them to children. Many vitamins are colorful, good tasting
and shaped like cartoon characters. It is easy for kids to consider these medications
to be candy.
Q: My child likes to eat toothpaste. Is this dangerous?
A: Toothpaste contains fluoride. Fluoride can be dangerous in certain amounts. Usually there is not enough fluoride in a tube of toothpaste to cause a serious poisoning. But you should teach your child that eating toothpaste is not safe. Taking too much toothpaste can cause short- and long-term problems. If you think your child may have eaten toothpaste, call 1-800-222-1222 and get advice.
Q: What should I do with the mercury from a broken thermometer?
A: If mercury is spilled and not cleaned up, it gives off fumes. These fumes are poisonous if breathed in. Any spilled mercury should be cleaned up. Do not vacuum up the mercury. Call 1-800-222-1222 for advice on cleaning up.
Q: Can mouthwash be dangerous?
A: Yes, mouthwash often contains alcohol. To a young child, even a small amount of alcohol can be deadly. Some mouthwash might taste good to a child. A child might drink a large amount of it. Many other personal care products contain alcohol (for example, germ killers for cleaning hands and acne treatment products). Keep all mouthwash and other personal care products locked up out of sight and out of reach of children.
Q: Why is it dangerous to use drink containers to store household products and other strong chemicals?
A: Children and adults might think poisons stored in drink containers are drinks. Such mistakes can be deadly.