NM Poison Center offers tips to prevent holiday poisonings

(File: Cropped Photo: kxln univision 45 / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic )

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – As New Mexico experiences colder weather and families gather to celebrate the winter holidays, take precautions to help prevent poison exposures that occur more frequently around this time of year.

Carbon Monoxide

In 2014, the NMPDIC received 196 calls regarding carbon monoxide. Also referred to as the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas released through defective generators, gas furnaces and heaters, gasoline-powered vehicles and equipment and other fuel-burning appliances.

The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:

  • headache,
  • dizziness,
  • weakness,
  • upset stomach,
  • vomiting, chest pain and
  • confusion

If enough carbon monoxide is inhaled, it can cause unconsciousness, impaired coordination and even death. Avoid running generators in enclosed spaces and never warm up a vehicle inside the garage, even if the doors are open. Additionally, installing and regularly replacing battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home can help to determine if there is a leak.

Alcohol Exposure

In 2014, the NMPDIC managed 223 cases of alcohol exposure in those under the age of 20 years. Even a small amount of ingested alcohol can cause severely low blood sugar and distress to a toddler’s central nervous system.


Keep all buttons and holiday ornaments out of sight and reach of children

Toy and battery safety remains a serious concern for poison center experts during the winter holidays. In 2014, the NMPDIC provided 200 consultations for cases involving foreign body and/or battery ingestion in those under the age of 20 years. 

Button batteries, which can be found in watches, toys, games, flashing jewelry, singing greeting cards and remote control devices, can be especially dangerous when swallowed by children. These batteries can become stuck in the throat, causing severe tissue damage and even death. Button batteries also can cause injury when placed in the nose or ears.

Also, antique toys and toys that have been made in some foreign countries pose a higher risk for lead exposure. Therefore, parents and caregivers are encouraged to carefully inspect these types of toys for chipping or worn paint before allowing children to play with them, and reviewing toy recall notices before purchasing new toys.

Source: http://hscnews.unm.edu/in-brief/nm-poison-center-offers-tips-to-prevent-holiday-poisonings

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