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Poison Proofing Your Home

Poison Proofing Your Home Introduction

Patient Comments

Each year, millions of people are accidentally poisoned. The cause of poisonings often varies according to the age of the victim. Children younger than 6 years of age, for example, are at a greater risk of swallowing household cleaners and other products because they are curious and like to put substances in their mouths. Older adults taking several medications may become forgetful and mistakenly take too much of a medication or the wrong kind of medication.

A poison is any substance that is injurious to health or life. Many ordinary substances found in the home can cause an unintentional poisoning. People can help to protect themselves and their family members by following simple steps to make the home safe from poisons.

Reasons for Poison Proofing Your Home

Individuals can be exposed to poisons in many ways. Possible poisons can come from various products around the home and are usually found in the following four forms:

  • Solids: pills, vitamins, plants, powders, fertilizers, pellets, and mothballs
  • Liquids: medicines, lotions, soaps, furniture polish, lighter fluid, and household cleaners
  • Sprays: insecticides sprays and spray paints
  • Invisible vapors: car exhaust fumes, gasoline fumes, carbon monoxide, and paint stripper

Some of the most dangerous poisons found in the home are common, otherwise safe, everyday products. Some examples of these products include the following:

  • Medicines or vitamins that include iron (and may cause iron poisoning)
  • Cleaning products (for example, drain openers, oven cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and bleach)
  • Antifreeze
  • Pesticides
  • Cosmetics (for example, nail polish remover, hair dyes, and hair sprays)
  • Hydrocarbons (for example, furniture polish, lamp oil, and lighter fluids)
  • Plants (for example, mushrooms and some common household plants, flowers, and shrubs in the yard)
Last Reviewed 11/20/2017

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Emergency Treatment for Animal Bites

A person attacked by a land animal should attempt to identify the type of animal, the time of the injury, and the nature of the attack.

  • Animal bites can occur on any dive or wilderness trip. They may also occur in a backyard with domesticated pets or wild animals.
  • Unprovoked animal bites are particularly dangerous. The possibility of a cat, dog, or wild animal having rabies is high, especially in less-developed countries.
  • Bites from land animals often lead to severe infections. Puncture wounds are very dangerous because they inject bacteria deep into the tissues.
  • Bites to the hand, wrist, foot, or joint are very dangerous and require immediate medical attention.
  • Infection is a major concern with bites because a local wound infection may develop in as little as 24 hours.

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