FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2021
CELEBRATE EARTH DAY BY KEEPING MEDICATIONS OUT OF WATER SUPPLIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Take Medications Back to a Nebraska MEDS Participating Pharmacy
Lincoln, NE (April 21, 2021) – What is a great way to celebrate Earth Day tomorrow? Clean out your cabinets and collect all of your unwanted and expired prescription and over-the-counter medications to take back to a pharmacy for safe disposal.
“It is important that consumers understand that medications should never be disposed of down a toilet or drain,” said Sarah Hunter, Project Coordinator for the Nebraska Pharmacists Association. “Most water treatment facilities don’t have the capacity to remove these emerging contaminants, making it important to prevent them from entering water supplies to protect our water resources and our environment.”
Consumers using septic systems for household wastewater disposal should be incredibly diligent about never flushing medications, as they can disrupt the system’s ability to treat wastewater and lead to groundwater contamination from the chemical compounds.
Pharmacies from across the state participate in the Nebraska MEDS Initiative and will take back prescription and over-the-counter medications free of charge, no questions asked. Pharmacists are happy to do their part to ensure that their patient’s medication remains out of Nebraska’s water supply and out of the wrong hands.
Find a participating pharmacy near you at leftovemeds.com.
Call 1-800-222-1222 for questions
National Poison Prevention Week will be held March 21-27, 2021. Call the experts at the Nebraska Regional Poison Center for any poisoning which can include; double dose of medication, wrong medication given or taken, intentional ingestion, bites/stings, food poisoning, eye, skin or lung exposure. 1-800-222-1222 24/7/365. We are staffed by all healthcare professionals including Registered Nurses, Pharmacists and Physicians. Never hesitate to call.
Tips for a Safe and Healthy Holiday during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The holiday season is a time for celebration and joy with our friends and families. Due to our current pandemic, there are additional safety guidelines to keep in mind. It is wise to follow all state directed health measures. Research shows that the number of poisoning incidents involving children rises during the holiday season. The Nebraska Regional Poison Center reminds everyone to be mindful of additional items in the home that may cause a poisoning during the holiday season. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- If you do have visitors remember that they may bring their medications. 59,000 children go to U.S. emergency departments every year for a poisoning and 48% of these cases involve children accessing grandparents’ medications. When visitors arrive for the holidays, make sure to store their medications out of sight and reach.
- Avoid storing disinfectants and cleaners on the counter. Storage on the counter may be convenient, but it provides an opportunity for a young child to reach and swallow or spray them on the skin or in the eyes.
- 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, hand sanitizers, and even in perfume and cologne. Remove all items containing alcohol from sight and reach. Remember to empty all ashtrays; only a few cigarette butts can harm a child if swallowed.
- 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 can also be a choking hazard and cause vomiting.
- 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 they can cause upset stomach.
- Although holiday tree icicles, tinsel and garland are festive, these items 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 usually contain water and glitter. Some snow globes may also contain glycols, but usually in low concentrations.
The Nebraska Regional Poison Center offers tips on holiday safety and poison prevention. When you call 1-800-222-1222, you will talk immediately to a Registered Nurse or Pharmacist 24/7/365.
Safety at Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The holiday meal and its preparation is the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving celebration and safe food handling in the kitchen is very important! There are many more safety guidelines to keep in mind this year due to our current pandemic. It is wise to follow all state directed health measures this year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six Americans (48 million) will become ill from a food-borne illness this year. The following tips will help guard against food poisoning.
- DO ask all kitchen helpers to wash their hands using warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
- DO keep turkey in its original wrapping, refrigerated until ready to cook.
- DO defrost a frozen turkey by refrigeration or cold running water.
- DO allow one day for every 4-5 pounds to defrost in the refrigerator. In a cold water bath, change the water every 30 minutes.
- DO use a meat thermometer to check if turkey is done. The turkey should cook until the internal temperature reaches a safe minimum of 165˚ F.
- DO store the turkey and stuffing separately.
- DO store leftover turkey in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days.
- DO store leftover stuffing and gravy in the refrigerator and use within 1-2 days.
- DON’T defrost a turkey at room temperature. Bacteria can multiply to unsafe numbers on outer layers before inner layers have defrosted.
- DON’T leave an uncooked thawed turkey out of the refrigerator longer than two hours.
- DON’T rinse your turkey before cooking. Let the cooking process take care of the bacteria and avoid the risk of cross contamination.
- DON’T set your oven lower than 325˚ F.
- DON’T prepare food if you are sick or have a nose or eye infection.
- DON’T leave leftovers out on the counter longer than two hours.
- DON’T re-freeze a completely thawed uncooked turkey.
- DON’T stuff turkeys as it makes it difficult for the internal temperature to reach 165°F within a safe period of time. If you must stuff your turkey, stuff it lightly before cooking and leave room for the oven to cook the interior of the turkey and stuffing.
The Nebraska Regional Poison Center is a free community service to the public.
Call 1-800-222-1222 to speak directly with a Registered Nurse or Pharmacist 24/7/365.