Summer means children are around the house more, and that brings an increased number of poison-related medical emergencies, according to the paramedics at the Davis County Sheriff's Department.
Young children, especially preschoolers, are active and curious, looking for things to do, and their explorations can lead to accidental poisonings, according to deputy-paramedic Kim Tauss.Nationally, more than 6 million people are poisoned annually, Tauss said, and some of the common products that result in poisonings are medications, household cleaners, petroleum products, plants and personal products.
Sheriff Harry V. Jones said he has a personal interest in the problem.
"I have 13 grandchildren ranging in age from 3 to 14. You not only have to watch the small ones closely but the older children as well," said Jones.
Summer, Jones said, brings a variety of seasonal hazards. "I have a poisonous berry plant in my own back yard that I am constantly cutting back and digging up.
"Then there are insects and snakes . . . and don't forget the lighter fluid and briquettes you use barbecuing," the sheriff warned.
Jones also included a reminder to parents to keep the summer holidays safe with the proper use of fireworks.
The sheriff's department recommends a pamphlet on safeguarding the home environment and making it poison-free. It is offered free by the Intermountain Regional Poison Control Center.
The pamphlet also has instructions on how to handle poison ingestion and medication overdose.
Dr. Dennis Wyman, emergency room physician at Lakeview Hospital and medical director for the county paramedic service, also offered advice on accidental poisonings:
"The most important consideration after exposure or ingestion is to make sure the child is able to breathe well. Should the child's ability to move air in and out become compromised in any way, 911 should be called immediately to start the paramedics to your location.
"The county emergency medical dispatchers will give you lifesaving information to help the patient until paramedics arrive. If the patient is not having difficulty breathing, you may call the regional poison control center and follow their instruction," said Wyman.
The poison control center's toll-free telephone number is 1 (800) 581-2151, a number Tauss suggested people post near their telephone.