Poison Prevention Home Tour
Medicine. The little pills that help you feel better can also cause harm, if used incorrectly. New visits to the ER for drug-related poisoning are on the rise, according to research from the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Here are a few scary stats:
- Almost 700,000 emergency department visits for drug-related poisoning occur per year.
- There were nearly 28,000 unintentional drug-related poisoning deaths in the United States in 2007.
- Infants to 5-years old have the highest rate of unintentional poisoning.
- Antidepressants and painkillers were responsible for 43 percent of all drug-related poisoning.
Not on prescription meds and only take the occasional over-the-counter painkiller? This poisoning can still happen to you. Gail Banach, a poison educator at the Upstate New York Poison Center, shares a few safety tips in honor of Poison Prevention Week:
Always, always read labels. Even if you've taken the medicine or OTC product before. Warnings and dosages can change due to new research or updates from manufacturers, so its imperative that you double check the label each time you start taking meds.
Listen to your doc…and your pharmacist!When you pick up your prescriptions, the pharmacist might give extra instructions or notes. For instance, if you are on warfarin (Coumadin), they'll probably tell you not to take aspirin with it. There's a reason for this! Aspirin is a blood thinner and warfarin is an anticogulant, so taking the combo could increase your risk of dangerous bleeding. Take your pharmacist's notes seriously.
Over-the-counter drugs can interact with diet and supplements. You should always be open and detailed with your doctor regarding any supplements you're taking. Certain ingredients in so-called "natural" supplements can still cause a negative reaction with medicine you get at the drugstore. Your doc can tell you if there's anything to watch out for.
Video: Poison Control Center: STOP! Ask First.
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