The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center encourages you to follow these tips from HRSA to ensure a safe summer break!
- Always wash hands and counters before preparing food. Use clean utensils for cooking and serving.
- Store, cook, and reheat food at the proper temperatures.
- Refrigerated foods should not be left out at temperatures above 40 degrees F (5 degrees C). The following foods, and others, can quickly spoil and become unsafe: party platters, meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, eggs, mayonnaise, and cooked vegetables.
- Do not let food sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Wash hands, cutting boards, utensils, and dishes with hot, soapy water after handling raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
- Watch for signs of food poisoning. They include fever, headache, diarrhea, stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting.
Mushrooms & Plants
- Only experts can tell poisonous mushrooms from safe mushrooms.
- Poisonous mushrooms, called "death caps," often grow in yards and parks.
- Eating even a few bites of certain mushrooms can cause liver damage that can kill you.
- If you are allergic to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, touching it can cause blisters on your skin.
- If someone touches one of these plants, rinse right away with running water for at least five minutes.
- Unless you are a plant expert, do not pick your own foods to eat in the wild.
- Poison center experts may not be able to identify plants on the phone, so it is important before a poisoning occurs to learn the names of plants around your home.
- Be alert to insects that may bite or sting, particularly bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets. After a sting, the skin will show redness and swelling and may be itchy and painful.
- Insect stings may cause serious problems and even death for those who are allergic to them.
- Go to a hospital right away if you are stung and have any of these signs: hives, dizziness, breathing trouble, or swelling around eyes and mouth.
- Be sure to check the label on any insect repellent. Be aware that most contain DEET, which can be dangerous in large quantities.
- Have an adult apply repellent to children. When using repellent on a child, put a little on your own hands, then rub them on your child. Avoid the eyes and mouth, and use only a little around the ears.
- Use separate products when there is a need for insect spray and sunscreen.
- Follow the label instructions.
- Do not use sunscreen that contains DEET.
- Repeatedly applying a product with DEET can increase the risk of harmful effects.
- For most products, after returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
- Check the label of the product you are using for more advice.
Alcoholic Drinks and Products
- Alcohol can be a deadly poison for children because they are small and their livers are not fully developed. All of the following are dangerous for children: beer, wine, mixed drinks, other alcoholic beverages, facial cleaners, and mouthwash. Therefore, do not leave products containing alcohol where children can reach them.
- Alcohol will make a child sleepy. The child can develop low blood sugar. This can lead to seizures, coma, and death.
- Be alert at parties and gatherings. Children may find cups containing leftover alcohol within their reach.
Other Poison Risks
- Lighter fluid, gasoline, torch and lamp oils can be deadly if swallowed. Watch children closely at all times when these are being used.
- Use camp stoves, grills and generators outside, never inside buildings or tents.
- Inhaling chlorine products can irritate the respiratory system. Homeowners who have swimming pools should store pool chemicals in a safe and secure place, out of children’s reach.
Need help or have a question? Call our pharmacists at the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center for free, 24/7 at 1-800-222-1222!