ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Last year, more than half of all unintentional poisonings in the home occurred by ingesting medications that were not properly stored or disposed of. Peggy Kinamore, public education coordinator with the Missouri Poison Center, visits Fox 2 News in the Morning to discuss ways to dispose of medications the correct way.
What are the best ways to decrease the likelihood of unintentional poisonings at home?
• Lock up medicines and household products, out of the reach and sight of children.
• Store products in their original containers, never in food or drink containers.
• Use child-resistant packages and put the tops on tightly.
• Return the household products and medicines to their proper storage place immediately after use.
• Don’t let children watch adults taking medicine. (Children like to imitate adults.)
• Always read the label and follow the directions on medicines and products.
• Call medicines by their proper names. Never call it candy.
• Begin teaching safety rules to children at an early age.
If a medication disposal program is not available in your area, unwanted or expired medications should be thrown in the trash. Follow these steps:
• Take your drugs out of their original containers.
• Liquids should be poured over paper towels, kitty litter, or coffee grounds. Place tightly wrapped mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.
• Solids (pills, capsules, tablets) may be mixed with undesirable substances such as coffee grounds or kitty litter so that they are less likely to be eaten. Place the tightly wrapped mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.
• Conceal or remove any personal information, including RX number, on the empty containers by covering it with permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.
• The sealed container with the drug mixture, and the empty drug containers, can now be placed in the trash.
DO NOT: Flush expired or unwanted drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so.
DO: Return unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs to a drug take-back program or follow the above steps for household disposal.
What do you do if you suspect your child has come in contact with a poisons substance?
• Program the Poison Help line into your phone (1-800-222-1222) so you are prepared in the event of a poison incident.
• Call Poison Control
• Swallowed poison: Take the item away from the child, and have the child spit out any remaining substance. Do not make your child vomit. Do not use syrup of ipecac.
• Swallowed battery: If your child has swallowed a button-cell battery, seek treatment in a hospital emergency department immediately.
• Skin poison: Remove the child`s clothes and rinse the skin with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes.
• Eye poison: Flush the child`s eye by holding the eyelid open and pouring a steady stream of room temperature water into the inner corner for 15 minutes.
• Poisonous fumes: Take the child outside or into fresh air immediately. If the child has stopped breathing, start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and do not stop until the child breathes on his or her own, or until someone can take over.