CHICAGO—This year marks the 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week (March 18-24); in 2009 Governor Pat Quinn declared March to also be Illinois Poison Prevention Month (IPPM) because of its importance, and encouraged all residents to educate themselves about the potentially dangerous substances in their homes. To learn more about Illinois Poison Prevention Month and how to get involved please visit the Illinois Poison Center’s website www.illinoispoisoncenter.org, for activity suggestions and free materials to distribute to family, friends and the community.
“Poison prevention education is vital to the public’s safety,” said Michael Wahl, MD, managing medical director, IPC. “By using the entire month of March as a means to increase awareness of this serious health issue, we hope to reduce the incidence and injury caused by poisonings.”
Year after year, millions of accidental poisonings occur in America. Poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related adult deaths in the U.S. surpassing firearms and motor vehicle accidents as causes. Nine out of ten poisoning deaths are caused by drugs/medications, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Preparing yourself and your family is the best way to avoid a potential poisoning, according to the Illinois Poison Center experts.
IPC tips to prevent poisonings:
• Store all food and beverages in a completely separate area away from cleaners, medicines, automotive, yard and health care products.
• Keep medicines and household products in their original containers with original labels. Always read labels before using medicines, cleaners and other products
• Teach children to ask first before eating or drinking anything
• Never call medicine candy or make a game out of taking it
• Keep the IPC phone number, 1-800-222-1222, near all phones in the house, and store the number in your cell phone
To celebrate IPPM, this year the IPC will:
• Host a four week Twitter chat series, every Thursday, starting March 8. Participants can follow us on Twitter- @ILPoisonCenter and use hashtag #PoisonCtrChat to join the various topic discussions led by our experts.
• Debut “Meet the IPC Experts” blog series, highlighting the call center experts who answered over 85,000 calls from the general public and health care professionals last year. Join the experience at ipcblog.org starting March 6.
• Provide free poison prevention training and educational materials available to anyone living/working in Illinois at www.IllinoisPoisonCenter.org.