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.

 

Food prep tips for a healthy Thanksgiving meal

Food safety tips for before and after your Thanksgiving meal
from the Minnesota Poison Control System

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While Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to gather, express gratitude, and enjoy a meal together, this time of year is also associated with an increased risk of food poisoning.  America’s 55 poison centers help manage tens of thousands of cases involving suspected food poisoning each year.   This Thanksgiving, the Minnesota Poison Control System (MPCS), encourages Americans to take a few simple food safety precautions to prevent food poisoning and help ensure a delicious and safe Thanksgiving meal.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 6, or 48 million people contract food poisoning each year, with approximately 128,000 of those people being hospitalized and 3,000 dying of illnesses associated with food poisoning.  According to Stephen T. Kaminski, JD, AAPCC CEO and Executive Director, “the good news is that food poisoning is largely preventable.  By taking a few simple food safety precautions, you can avoid offering food poisoning a seat at your Thanksgiving table.  And remember, if you do suspect food poisoning, expert help is a quick, free call away at 1-800-222-1222.”

Symptoms of food poisoning usually appear within hours of eating
contaminated food, and often include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, and diarrhea.  Food poisoning symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to several days.  While most food poisoning cases are mild and resolve without medical care, some episodes can be more severe and require expert treatment advice. “Pregnant women, young children, and those with vulnerable immune systems should be especially cautious during the holiday season. By saving the Poison Help phone number into a mobile telephone, anyone can be prepared in the event of a poisoning emergency,” said Kaminski.

The MPCS offers the following simple food safety tips for preparing and enjoying your holiday meals:

PREPARE

  • Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in your grocery bags, in the refrigerator, and while prepping.
  • Wash your hands, kitchen surfaces, utensils, and cutting boards frequently, especially after handling or preparing uncooked food and before touching or eating other foods. Wash produce but not eggs, meat, or poultry, which can spread harmful bacteria.
  • Use the microwave, cold water, or the refrigerator method to defrost your frozen meat or poultry. Do not thaw or marinate these items on the counter, and be sure to cook them immediately after thawing.

COOK

  • The bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest in the ‘Danger Zone,’ which is between 40˚ and 140˚ Fahrenheit. In general, it’s best to keep hot food hot, and cold food cold.
  • Use a food thermometer to check if meat is fully cooked and heated high enough to kill harmful bacteria. Cook turkey until it reaches 165° F.
  • The safest way to cook stuffing is outside of the turkey in a casserole dish. However, if you choose to cook stuffing inside the turkey, stuff the turkey just before cooking, and use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Remove the stuffing immediately after the turkey is finished cooking and place in a separate serving dish.

STORE

  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly – within two hours – at 40° F or below to help reduce the risk of bacterial growth.
  • Prevent cross-contamination by completely and securely covering foods in the refrigerator.
  • Consume or freeze leftovers within 3-4 days.

The Minnesota Poison Control System is available to provide expert, free, and confidential information and treatment advice 24-hours per day, seven days a week, year-round, including holidays. If you have any questions about safe food preparation, or if you or someone you know suspects food poisoning, call the Poison Help line at 1(800) 222-1222.

Poison HelpFor more information, the media may contact Kirk Hughes, Education
Director at 612-873-5644 or Deb Anderson, Managing Director at 612-873-2107.

To learn more, visit www.mnpoison.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @mnpoisoncenter.