More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the nation’s poison centers. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the majority of fatal poisonings occur among adults, especially older adults. Break the cycle with National Poison Prevention Week, occurring March 15-21.
The National Poison Prevention Week was established by the U.S. Congress in 1961, and aims to raise awareness and discuss the dangers of potentially poisonous medicines and chemicals, and to outline preventative steps people can take to ensure their safety.
A poison is anything that can harm someone if it is:
- Used in the wrong way
- Used by the wrong person
- Used in the wrong amount
Some poisons may be harmful if they come into direct contact with your eyes or skin. Others may be toxic if you breathe them or swallow them. Most consumer products are safe if label directions are followed, but some can be poisonous if used incorrectly.
Poisons can come in four forms:
- Solids – such as pain medicine pills or tablets
- Liquids – such as household cleaners, including bleach
- Sprays – such as spray cleaners
- Gases – such as carbon monoxide
National Poison Prevention Week is the third full week of March each year. Contact 1.800.222.1222 to find a poison center in your area. This phone line will get you directly in touch with a trained nurse, pharmacist, or doctor at your local poison center. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which through the Poison Help Campaign provides funding to improve poison centers and develops programs to support the enhancement and improvement of poison education, prevention, and treatment.