As New Mexicans prepare for their Thanksgiving Day festivities, and with the holiday season just around the corner, the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center has some tips on how to keep your celebrations safe from accidental poisonings.
Food Preparation and Alcohol
- Wash hands well with warm water and soap before and after food preparation, especially raw meat/eggs.
- Wash utensils, containers, countertops and cutting boards well before and after food preparation.
- Use separate cutting boards for meat products.
- Cook all meats to the recommended internal temperature.
- Refrigerate all perishable items no more than two hours after a meal.
- Avoid storing raw meat above prepared food as contaminated fluid may drip or seep.
- Keep all alcoholic beverages out of the reach of children and beware of unfinished alcoholic beverages - as little as 3 ounces of hard liquor can be fatal to a child weighing 25 pounds.
- Angel Hair is made up of spun glass, which can severely irritate the eyes and mouth, causing severe pain.
- Snow spray can cause severe damage if sprayed directly into eyes.
- Do not ingest the liquid in snow globes, as harmful bacteria can accumulate.
- Keep all substances containing hydrocarbons, such as oil candle lamps, out of the reach of children. These products are extremely dangerous and can cause severe respiratory problems or even death.
- Beware of fireplace powders and logs that burn different colors, as they contain heavy metals. Symptoms include severe stomach pain and intestinal irritation.
- Store batteries out of sight and reach of children. Tape battery compartments as an extra precaution.
Toxic Holiday Plants
- Keep toxic plants out the reach of children and pets.
- Although the effects of ingesting toxic holiday plants range in severity, the most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe, azalea, rhododendron, amaryllis, Christmas berry, holly, winter broom, Jerusalem cherry, chrysanthemum and Christmas peppers are considered toxic.
- Beware of the essential oils in evergreens, such as balsams, cedar, fir, juniper and pine, as they can cause stomach irritation if ingested, and damage to the lung if inhaled as an aromatic fragrance.
- During flu and cold season, our homes may be heavily stocked with remedies. Take extra care to ensure that all medications are kept in their original containers and out of the reach of children.
- Follow directions carefully and do not exceed recommended dosage.
- Remember that the holiday season is usually a time when family and friends visit your home. Ensure that visitors also keep their medications out of the reach of children.
Call the New Mexico Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for any questions or poison emergencies.