This week is National Poison Prevention Week.
Poisons can kill. But we also know that poisonings are preventable.
Fayette County Public Health Deputy Health Commissioner Leigh Cannon is warning about a toxic poison affecting children and teens.
“During National Poison Prevention Week, Fayette County Public Health would like to raise awareness about a very dangerous behavior teens are engaging in: eating Tide Pods,” wrote Cannon this week in an email.
Cannon said teens are daring each other to eat Tide Pods, a dangerous activity across social media known as the Tide Pod Challenge. Recently, teens trying to get clicks and likes on their social media pages have put themselves in danger by putting laundry detergent pods in their mouths.
No one wants to see an internet joke become a family tragedy. Laundry packets are toxic and should never be ingested, according to officials.
“Tide Pods are a type of laundry soap that comes in an individual package and is for washing clothes in a washing machine only. Tide Pods are considered very dangerous as they contain a highly concentrated toxic detergent. Tide Pods are poison and should never be eaten. Parents should monitor what their teens are doing, watching online, and texting. Monitor your teens and have these conversations about the dangers of ingesting Tide Pods,” said Cannon.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is aware of 10 deaths from ingesting laundry packets; two were children; eight adult victims all suffered from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Health experts said the laundry soap should also be locked up and out of sight of small children who might get access to and put the laundry detergent in their mouths.
“Tide Pods come in a colorful box and can look like candy to small children. Just like any toxic chemical in your home, you should put the Tide Pods out of reach of small children to prevent an unintentional emergency, and educate your teens to avoid an intentional emergency,” said Cannon.
In 2016 more than 79,000 children were seen in emergency rooms due to unintended pediatric poisoning. More than 84 percent of these incidents occurred in the home and most often with these five products: blood pressure medications, acetaminophen, laundry packets, bleach, and sedatives and anti-anxiety medications.
CPSC urges everyone to have a ‘Plan for Protection from Poisoning,’ especially if there are little ones or elderly relatives in the home.
Younger children tend to get into everything and often put things they shouldn’t into their mouths. Hazardous medicines and household cleaning products can be mistaken for more common products due to colorful packaging or fruity scents. Ingesting these can be a deadly mistake, according to health officials.
Safety tips include locking up household cleaners, laundry pods and medicines. Locking up medications and keeping them out of sight is paramount in preventing pediatric poisonings.
Discarding unfinished medicine is also part of a good plan for protection from poisoning. But don’t just throw them in the trash where they can be discovered and retrieved. Consider taking unneeded medications to your local police station where many have drug recovery bins or check your local pharmacy to see if they have a disposal kiosk for medications.
A safe medication drop-off location for Fayette County residents is located in the lobby at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, 113 E. Market St., Washington C.H.
In the event of a suspected accidental poisoning, call 911 and the poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222.
For more than 50 years, National Poison Prevention Week has been observed during the third week in March, focusing on the danger of commonly used medicines and household cleaners and ways to keep your family safe.
SOURCE U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Contact Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton and sending a message.