Poisonings & Medicine Mishaps Can Happen To Anyone, Anywhere & at Any Time
By Stefanie Baines, MA, CHES
Education Coordinator, Poison Control Center at The University of Kansas Health System
Poisonings & medicine mishaps can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Did you know that last year nearly 60 percent of the human exposures reported to the Kansas Poison Control Center involved medications or pharmaceuticals? Most over-the-counter and prescription medicines can be helpful when taken as directed. However, when not taken properly, medicines can be harmful, and in some cases deadly. Medication errors can occur at any age, which is why it’s important for everyone to be aware of proper medicine safety.
By taking a few precautions, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe from poison emergencies!
Children – As we know, young children are curious and act fast. Therefore, it’s vital to use and store medicine around children properly:
Adolescents – Youth begin to self-medicate around 11 years old (5th and 6th grade), which is why it’s important that parents, teachers, and guardians discuss the safe use and storage of medicines with tweens:
Adults – Between taking care of their children and parents, many adults forget about the importance of their own medicine safety. However, a few simple steps can help prevent poisonings and overdoses:
Older Adults – About one-third of adults 57 years and older use at least 5 different prescription medicines, and most older adults taking prescription medicines are also using over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, or both. Due to the increase in medicines, older adults are twice as likely as others to come to emergency departments for adverse drug events and nearly seven times more likely to be hospitalized after an emergency. As more and more patients receive care from more than one provider and even more than one pharmacy to meet their pharmaceutical needs, the patient remains the common denominator. Here’s how older adults can protect themselves from accidental poisonings and overdoses:
Poisonings can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Make sure you are prepared for any poison emergency by having poison control at your fingertips! Save the Poison Help contact in your phone today.