The 6 Warning Signs You’ve Been Poisoned

National Poison Prevention Week is March 15-21, 2015 and was designated to highlight the dangers of poisons around the home, and to educate the public about prevention. To put the problem in perspective, the American Association of Poison Control Centers receives about 4 million calls every year. To help keep your home and family safe, follow these tips:

Household Chemicals/Cleaners and Pesticides

Be sure to close them tightly after each use, and store out of reach of children. Products should be kept in their original containers with labels intact. Never store cleaners in bottles or decorative containers that could be mistaken for a drink. And never mix cleaners – doing so can result in poisonous or flammable gases.


Store all meds away and out of sight of small children and pets, where they might be mistaken for treats, or candy. (The same for vitamins, which in larger doses can be toxic.) Don’t refer to medicine as “candy” so your young ones won’t be tempted to take it when you’re not around to supervise. Follow the directions on the label (or that were given to you by your doctor), and be mindful of expiration dates, replacing as necessary.

Food and Drink

To avoid food poisoning, cleanliness is key. Be sure to wash your hands, work areas, dish towels, and food. Keep raw meat separate from other foods, and cook your food thoroughly. Store leftovers in covered containers, and throw away items in the refrigerator if it’s past the expiration date. While we might need a little boost of energy to help us get through the day, energy drinks can be harmful to children, as some contain four times as much caffeine as a cup of coffee!

Carbon Monoxide

This type of poisoning can be lethal and can also lead to permanent brain and nervous system damage. Carbon monoxide poisoning is more in common in the winter months, when people are trying to keep warm. To keep your home and family safe, be sure to have your heating source inspected at the start of every season. Whether it’s a furnace or fireplace, make sure everything is in good working order with proper ventilation. Since the gas is both odorless and tasteless, a carbon monoxide detector would be a worthwhile investment.

Six Signs of potential poisoning may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness (and in some cases, unconsciousness)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Burning sensation (where the poison was touched or ingested)
  • Difficulty speaking

If you suspect that a family member has been exposed to a poisonous, or otherwise hazardous material, immediately call the National Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.