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Tips for a Safe and Healthy Holiday

 

The holiday season is a time for celebration and joy with our friends and families. Research shows that the number of poisoning incidents involving children rises during the holiday season. During the hustle and bustle of the holidays it is easy to overlook items in the home that could cause a poisoning. The Nebraska Regional Poison Center would like to offer a few tips on how to make this “the most wonderful time of the year.”

  • Visiting relatives may bring their medications. 59,000 children go to Emergency Departments every year for a poisoning and 48% of these cases involve children accessing grandparent’s medications. When visitors arrive for the holidays make sure to store their medications up and out of reach. You may want to store meds in a locked box.
  • Disc batteries may be found in toys, games, watches, remotes and musical greeting cards. If swallowed, they can become lodged in the throat and cause serious injury or death if not removed. Also avoid toys that contain magnets since they may be harmful if swallowed.
  • Alcohol is found in holiday drinks and in gifts such as perfume and cologne. It is important to clean up immediately following all holiday parties. Remove all items that may contain alcohol and keep out of reach of small children.  Remember to empty all ashtrays – only a few cigarette butts swallowed is enough to harm a child.
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a gas produced when fuels burn incompletely. Some symptoms (nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness) can mimic other illnesses including the stomach flu and food poisoning.  It is very important to have a CO detector in your home.
  • Lamp oil in candle lamps is frequently used this time of year. These fuels may be colored and look like pretty beverages to small children. It only takes a small amount to cause choking and a chemical pneumonia if it goes into the lung. Aroma and fragrance oils smell good and attract small children, but can also be a choking hazard and cause vomiting.
  • Bubble lights look very pretty and are attractive to small children.  The fluid in these lights may contain a toxic chemical called methylene chloride.
  • Keep small children and animals away from seasonal plants such as mistletoe, holly berries, yew plants and poinsettias.  Poinsettias are not the fatal poison that they were once believed to be, but in large amounts can cause upset stomach.
  • Be mindful of Christmas tree icicles, tinsel and garland as these can be a choking hazard if swallowed. Snow sprays help with holiday décor, but the pressurized container may cause eye damage if sprayed directly in the eye. Glitter can be irritating to the eyes and lungs. Snow globes often have glitter, water and may contain glycols, but usually in low concentrations.
  • Remember your pets this holiday season. Chocolate, raisins, grapes and some nuts can be very toxic to animals.

Keep the Nebraska Regional Poison Center phone number available to family members and guests at all times.  Be safe and enjoy the holidays!

The Nebraska Regional Poison Center is a free community service to the public.

Call 1-800-222-1222 and talk immediately to a Registered Nurse or Pharmacist 24/7/365.

Text “poison” to 797979 to save the contact information for the poison center in your smart phone.