The New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center would like to offer a few tips on how to avoid poisonings that commonly occur during the summer season:
- Do not let food poisoning spoil your summer picnic or camping trips. Keep “cold” foods cold and “hot” foods hot before and after serving. Thoroughly cook all foods according to standard guidelines. Pack soap and water and wash hands carefully before and after handling food. Put leftover food in the ice chest right away.
- Be careful with gasoline, kerosene and charcoal lighter fluid. Follow the directions carefully, keep products in their original labeled containers and open containers carefully. Keep these products locked up where children cannot see them or reach them—hydrocarbon poisonings spike among children during the summer!
- Minimize exposure to carbon monoxide. Carbon Monoxide is an invisible, tasteless, odorless gas that comes from burning fossil fuels like natural gas, gasoline, kerosene, methane, propane, oil, coal and wood. Never use fuel-burning appliances, such as gas fired barbeques or charcoal grills, inside of a house, garage or tent…not even with the door(s) opened. When camping, use only battery powered heaters and lights in tents, trailers, or motor homes.
- Avoid wild mushrooms. Check your yard regularly for mushrooms, especially after a rainfall. Remove any mushrooms in your yard and throw them away. Teach children never to touch, taste or eat any outdoor mushrooms.
- Follow directions when using pool products. Swimming pool products like chlorine contain dangerous chemicals that can poison you if you use them in the wrong way and in the wrong amount. Keep products in their original labeled containers. Open containers carefully and keep the products locked-up where children cannot see them or reach them.
- Do not spend too much time in the sun. Sun poisoning occurs from over exposure to the UV rays in sunlight. Symptoms may include pealing of the skin, blisters and nausea. To prevent sun poisoning wear sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and without PABA (increases risk of sun poisoning), limit time spent in the sun especially during peak hours (noon to 4 p.m.) and avoid medications/topical agents, such as tetracycline antibiotics, that can increase the risk of becoming poisoned by the sun.
Call the New Mexico Poison Center for poisoning emergencies, questions about poisons, or for information about poison prevention, 24 hours a day, toll free at 1-800-222-1222.