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5 Common Poisonings Leading to ER Visits

According to the Center for Disease Control, poisoning causes approximately 1,940 people to go to the emergency room every day. Check out the five of the most common types of poisoning to watch for in your home.

1. Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is one of the most common types of poisoning and is the result of an individual eating contaminated food. Symptoms usually appear within hours of eating the contaminated food and is usually accompanied with nausea, diarrhea and/or vomiting. Many individuals who experience food poisoning don’t seek treatment and usually feeling better after 24 hours; however, some individuals need to go to the hospital if the poisoning is causing severe dehydration or bloody stools or vomit.

2. Chemical or Cleaner Poisoning

One of the most common causes of poisoning in young children is through the consumption of household cleaning or pesticide products. Symptoms related to chemical or cleaner poisoning depend not only on the type of substance and length of exposure, but also by individual. If you suspect that someone has poisoning as a result of a chemical or cleaning product, call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

3. Lead Poisoning

Many houses built before 1978 are likely to contain lead paint; however, it is the peeling paint that is the primary cause for concern. Lead poisoning is usually caused by continued exposure to lead and the absorption of it by breathing or swallowing a substance with lead in it. Lead poisoning can cause many health issues ranging from growth and development issues in children to kidney and stomach issues in adults.

4. Bite or Sting Poisoning

While most bug bites and stings are harmless, some insects carry illnesses like West Nile Virus or venomous poisons. If you suspect that someone has poisoning as a result of a bitten or stung by an animal or insect, call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

5. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning, or CO poisoning, accounts for more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room each year. Anytime you burn fuel in cars, gas ranges, fireplaces, stoves or furnaces, carbon monoxide is released in the fumes and can build up inside causing carbon monoxide poisoning to individuals breathing the fumes. Some of the common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, confusion, upset stomach and vomiting.

When to go to Emergency Room

Poisoning can cause a wide range of symptoms from rashes to difficulty breathing. A trip to the emergency room may be in order if you or a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms:

  • Unconsciousness (fainting)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Continuous vomiting or diarrhea causing severe dehydration

Poison Prevention Health and Safety Tips

Over 90% of reported poisonings occur at home, so here are few tips to keep everyone in your family safe:

  • Make sure young children don’t have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint
  • Follow label instructions in the storing of chemicals, pesticides and household cleaning products and be sure to keep them out of reach of children
  • Ventilate rooms by turning on fans and opening windows when using household cleaners and chemicals
  • Take all medications as directed by your physician and keep them stored according to label directions and out of reach of children
  • Have professionals install all gas appliances and check these appliances once a year for carbon monoxide leaks
  • Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home and check the batteries regularly

For any poison questions or concerns call the US poison prevention hotline at 1-800-222-1222. If an individual is unconscious or not breathing seek immediate medical attention by calling 9-1-1 or visiting your closest emergency room.

Sources:
CDC | Healthy Homes Tools and Training
CDC | Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
WebMD | Food Poisoning: What to Know