National Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26

MN Poison Control System and Safe Kids MN Highlight Risks and Tips for Child Safety

Poison HelpIn support of National Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26, the Minnesota Poison Control System and Safe Kids Minnesota are reminding parents and caregivers that children are at risk and offer practical suggestions to keep them safe.

“Poisonings can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone,” said Kirk Hughes, education director and poison specialist with the system’s Poison Center, “and last year nearly half of the poison exposures recorded in Minnesota were among children under the age of six.”

Pills can help with concentration

Despite the relatively high poisoning risk to children, it’s not on the radar for most parents. “Recent research from Safe Kids Worldwide found that only 4% of parents expressed concerns about poisoning, compared to other injury hazards in the home,” said Erin Petersen, coordinator of Safe Kids Minnesota.  Safe Kids has also found that parents’ and grandparents’ medications are a key culprit in child poisonings, accounting for 77 percent of children’s poison-related emergency room visits, according to another research report.

To prevent these incidents, the Poison Center and Safe Kids Minnesota offer simple, potentially life-saving tips:

– Program the nationwide Poison Help number (1-800-222-1222) into your cell or home phones.

– Keep medicines and household products in their original containers.

– Keep all medicines and household products up high and out of sight or locked up. If visitors are expected in your home, make sure suitcases and purses are stored out of children’s reach; remind visitors to take responsibility for their own medications.

– Take the time to read and follow the label before taking or giving medicine.

Key Facts About the Minnesota Poison Control System

Anytime, anywhere, anyone can call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Anytime: The Poison Center Emergency Call Center is available 24/7/365. It’s free and confidential.

Anywhere: In 2015, the Poison Center managed over 47,000 calls statewide from homes, schools, workplaces, and health care facilities statewide.

Anyone can call for help managing poison emergencies including; parents, caregivers, community members, emergency medical personnel, nurses, and physicians.

The Poison Center saves lives and money throughout Minnesota. Every dollar spent on Poison Center services saves over $13 in unnecessary medical costs. Ninety-two percent of exposures in the home are safely managed at home with expert consultation.

Visit www.mnpoison.org or www.safekids.org/medicinesafety  for more prevention tips, educational resources, and downloadable materials. Follow The Poison Center on Twitter @mnpoisoncenter or on Facebook.

The Minnesota Poison Control System is located at Hennepin County Medical Center. The Poison Center is designated by the Minnesota Department of Health to provide poison information and consultative services to the entire State of Minnesota.

Safe Kids Minnesota works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death for children and teens. It is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Minnesota was founded in 1988 and is led by the Minnesota Safety Council. For more information, visit www.safekids.org or www.minnesotasafetycouncil.org/safekids.

 

HCMC is an Air Aware Employer

air-aware-badge-300-134Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) is the first healthcare organization to participate in the Air Aware Employer program, a project between the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). As an Air Aware Employer, HCMC will send out Air Quality Index alerts through our company communications system to let employees know when the air quality in the region has dropped to harmful levels.  During an Air Alert, HCMC will encourage team members to take simple steps to protect personal health and wellness and reduce the number and duration of bad air days.

Poor air quality negatively impacts all residents and businesses in the region.  According to a new report published by the MDH and the MPCA, in 2008 air pollution contributed to 2000 deaths,  400 hospitalizations and 600 emergency room visits in the Twin Cities. Unhealthy air also negatively impacts area employers with higher absenteeism, reduced work productivity and more extensive and expensive regulations.

Simple choices, such as taking transit, carpooling or bicycling to work not only offer cost savings and health benefits – they can also make a difference in our region’s air quality.  That’s why HCMC offers commuter benefits to its employees like Metropass transit pass subsidy, payroll deduction for transit passes, bicycle storage, showers and lockers, and ZAP Twin Cities. To learn more about regional commuter programs and services, visit moveminneapolis.org.

Cold weather increases risk for carbon monoxide poisoning

Poison HelpWith home-heating season near, the Minnesota Poison Control System and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division remind Minnesotans that the risk of dangerous exposures to carbon monoxide (CO) increases — but these exposures can be prevented.

Approximately 500 people die each year in the United States due to unintentional CO poisoning. Another 150,000 people end up in the emergency room. Children are especially vulnerable. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 14 Minnesotans died of carbon monoxide poisoning in 2014.

Sources of Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas which can leak from faulty furnaces, water heaters or gas stoves. Other sources include a running car engine in an attached garage or a gas-powered generator operating indoors or outside close to dwellings. Outdoor generators should be placed more than 20 feet from your home, doors and windows.

What are the Symptoms?
Carbon monoxide prevents effective delivery of oxygen throughout the body in the bloodstream. At lower levels, carbon monoxide can cause flu-like symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

At higher levels, or with prolonged exposure, it can cause chest pain, confusion, disorientation, impaired vision and coordination, brain damage, coma and death.

iStock_000070642173_LargeHow Can You Protect Your Family?
Install CO detectors in your home. Minnesota law requires  all single family, apartment and multifamily dwellings have a UL-listed CO alarm within 10 feet of each bedroom.

Replace old CO detectors in your home. As a general rule, CO detectors need replacing every five years.  Follow manufacturer recommendations for more specific replacement information.

If the CO alarm sounds and anyone is feeling symptoms of CO poisoning, leave the house immediately. Call the Poison Center, fire department, local emergency medical services or local utility company.

For more information about CO poisoning, contact the Minnesota Poison Control System anytime at 1-800-222-1222 or visit us on the web at www.mnpoison.org. The State Fire Marshal Division has more information at http://ow.ly/Tb2O3

 Fire Marshal

 

Additional HCMC clinics certified as Health Care Homes

Three additional HCMC primary care clinics have recently achieved Health Care Home (HCH) certification by the Minnesota Department of Health:  Whittier Clinic, Brooklyn Center Clinic, and Brooklyn Park Clinic.  In addition,  six existing HCH clinics have been recertified in 2012, including East Lake Street Clinic, the downtown Pediatric Clinic, Richfield Clinic, Positive Care Clinic, Aqui Para Ti, and the Coordinated Care Clinic.

A health care home or a medical home is a patient- and family-centered way of providing coordinated primary care for all patients, especially those with chronic and complex conditions. Care coordinators play an essential role in this approach. At HCMC, this role is performed by both community health workers and registered nurses, depending upon the complexity of care coordination needs. These care coordinators work closely with patients and families to manage all aspects of care, and are key partners on the patient’s health team.

“Health Care Home is a transformative change in our care model,” said DeAnn Rice, HCMC’s Ambulatory Care Coordination Manager. “It’s a journey — not a destination. It is only made possible with the support of leadership, providers, dedicated staff, and patient involvement.”

HCMC is re-committed to certifying all of its primary care clinics as health care homes.