Thanks to all the summertime picnics, swimming, and cookouts, summer is also a time for more poisonings. As the seasons and weather change, so do the types of calls to the Nebraska Regional Poison Center, which handles calls from Idaho.
The Poison Center is a free community service . Call 1-800-222-1222 and talk immediately to a registered nurse or pharmacist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Text “poison” to 797979 to save the contact information for the poison center in your smart phone.
Here are a few things you may need to call the Poison Center for assistance with:
Glow Sticks: The Poison Center receives many calls about glow sticks each year. The liquid can be irritating when it comes into contact with your mouth, skin, and eyes.
Bites and Stings: This category can include bee stings, and spider and snake bites. Close observation for an allergic reaction is important, especially in the first hour after a sting. Ice is OK for most stings and bites, with the exception of snake bites. Some of the old wives tales on treating bites and stings aren’t always correct.
Insect Repellents: Use only insect repellents that are meant to be used on the skin. Avoid using too much at once. The long word for DEET is N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide. Most labels will have the long chemical word listed. Use concentrations of 20 percent or more. A higher concentration means it will be effective for a longer period of time. Use repellents only when outdoors and wash skin with soap and water when coming in. Picaridin is an odorless synthetic ingredient found in some bug repellents and is a safe alternative to use on children. Follow all label directions.
Hydrocarbons: This category can include gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluids and torch fuels. The hydrocarbon group is slick and oily. If they are swallowed, they may “slip” into the lung and cause a chemical pneumonia. Store all of these products in the original container and well out of reach of little hands.
Fireworks: Fireworks may contain a number of toxic chemicals and can be dangerous if swallowed.
Food Poisoning: When firing up the grill or heading to a picnic, it’s important to take some precautions. Remember to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. The USDA recommends fully cooking all meats to ensure bacteria are destroyed to prevent food poisoning. Meats should be cooked to 160 degrees. Always use a food thermometer.
Swimming pool chlorine: When too much chlorine is added to water in a swimming pool, contact with the skin and eyes may cause redness and a burning sensation. If you suspect an overly chlorinated pool, rinse your skin and eyes immediately, contact the lifeguard/pool manager, and call the Poison Center. Chlorine from an indoor pool, or opening a container of chlorine pool tablets may cause coughing or tightness in the lungs. Seek fresh air immediately.