Teaching Seniors

POISONING FACTS FOR OLDER ADULTS

Why Should Older Adults Learn About Poisoning?                                                                                                       

Everyone, from infants to older adults, is at risk for a poisoning exposure. Statistics show that 19.9 persons per 1,000 are victims of accidental poisoning.

What Are Some Poisoning Risks?

  • Taking extra doses of medicine (prescription or over-the-counter)
  • Taking a prescription medication at the wrong time or missing a dose of medication
  • Combining medications
  • Inhaling carbon monoxide fumes unknowingly from a leaky gas furnace or stove
  • Mixing bleach and ammonia (or other cleaning agents), which creates a poisonous gas

How Can Older Adults Stay Safe From Poisons?

  • Never mix cleaning products or chemicals.
  • Read all labels before using any household product or medication.
  • Keep products in their original containers with their original labels.
  • Identify all flowers, bushes and trees in and around your home and find out which ones are poisonous.

Medicine Safety Tips

  • Keep all medications in child-resistant containers and out of reach of children.
  • Always turn on the light and put on glasses before taking or giving medicine.
  • Take all medicines as prescribed, even if you begin to feel better.
  • Never take someone else's medicine or share your medicine. The dose might be wrong, or you may be allergic to the medicine. 
  • Never mix medicines unless directed by your doctor. Some medicines can cause serious side effects when mixed together.
  • Dispose of old medicines by flushing them down the toilet. Then rinse the container and throw away the empty container.
    • A small number of medicines have specific instructions to immediately flush down the toilet when no longer needed. Click here to see if your medication is on the list.

Save the hotline phone number in your cell phone. If you suspect a poisoning, don't wait for symptoms to appear. Call Tennessee Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. All calls are free and confidential.