NM Poison Center Warns of Spring Hazards

April 6, 2006

Contact: Jenny Savage (505) 272-3651


Spring lends itself to a myriad of pleasing greens and teeming new life. But before opening the windows to welcome the season inside, be sure to be aware of the dangers the spring season may pose.

All spiders are venomous with varying degrees of potency. Shake all shoes, clothing, towels and bedding that have been sitting around and be careful when reaching near corners. Dust and vacuum around windows, corners of rooms, and under furniture regularly.

In the spring, snakes emerge from their winter dens to hunt for food and water. Snakes seek shelter from the sun under rocks, bushes, in caves and animal burrows. Always be aware of your surroundings. Do not reach into cracks in rocks, animal burrows or under bushes and do not tease, kill or handle a rattlesnake.

Pesticides are chemicals used to kill pests. The three most common are insecticides, herbicides and rodenticides. Keep pesticides in their original containers and locked up where children cannot see or reach them, being sure to use child-resistant packaging and closing the container tightly after use. Read the labels and follow instructions, including all precautions and restrictions.

Outdoor and indoor plants. Know the names of your indoor and outdoor plants and find out if they are poisonous. Keep all poisonous plants, bulbs, seeds and plant food where children cannot reach them. Teach children not to put leaves, stems, bark berries, seeds or nuts from any plant into their mouths.

All mushrooms should be considered poisonous unless they have been correctly identified by an expert. 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.

During the spring, we are often exposed to hydrocarbons in the form of gasoline, kerosene and charcoal lighter fluid. Oil based paints, paint thinners and turpentine can also be harmful, even if ingested in small amounts. Follow the directions when using these products, keeping them in their original containers and locked away from children.

Insects. Avoid attracting insects by keeping trashcans covered and putting leftover food away immediately. Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing or heavy perfumes. If a flying insect approaches, move away from the insect without waving your hands and arms. Wear a Medic-Alert bracelet if you have a history of a life-threatening allergic reaction and ask your physician about prescribing an emergency bee sting kit to have in case of an emergency.

Household Chemicals used for Spring Cleaning. Store products in their original labeled containers away from food. Read labels and follow directions carefully and do not mix household products together. Keep all products locked up where children cannot see or reach them and never leave a child alone with poisonous products.

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