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NM Poison and Drug Information Center urges back-to-school safety
August 11, 2015
As summer break draws to a close, the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center, part of the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, has some tips to help keep your student poison-free:
- To avoid food poisoning, ensure cold foods stay cool and warm foods stay warm. For example, when taking a cold-cut sandwich with mayonnaise for lunch, make sure to also pack ice or a cold pack.
- Children should never eat or drink something if they are not sure that it is okay to do so. Medicines often look and taste like candy, and cleaning products often look and smell like food or drink.
- Students should wash their hands thoroughly before eating and after art projects. While most school supplies are non-toxic, ingestion of these substances is not recommended.
- Students should be reminded to follow directions carefully during science projects. Some chemicals are highly toxic and can react violently with water and other substances. Wear gloves when appropriate.
- A trusted adult, such as a parent or school nurse, should always help children take their medications.
- Children and adolescents should avoid alcohol. Small amounts of alcohol can be highly toxic in children and adolescents, and is even more dangerous when mixed with caffeine or certain medications. Of course, alcohol and driving never mix.
- There are a lot of synthetic drugs being made by hobby chemists. Recently, Miami police seized what resembled the popular sour and chewy candy to be coated with the synthetic drug, ethylone. Parents should talk to their children about such dangers.
- Too much caffeine can be toxic. Children and adolescents should have no more than 100 mg of caffeine a day. A typical can of soda contains around 40 mg of caffeine. Energy drinks should be strictly limited.
- Time spent in the sun should be limited, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wear plenty of sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15, protects against both UVA and UVB rays (“broad-spectrum”), and is PABA-free. Children and adolescents should stay well-hydrated during sport activities.
- Ensure childhood vaccinations are up-to-date.
- If you think that your child or student has been poisoned, call 1-800-222-1222 right away. Do not wait for the person to look or feel sick or ask for help.
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