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The holiday season is one of the most dangerous times of the year for alcohol-related accidents and death. The holiday season brings about parties and other fun festivities. Sometimes we lose sight of the real reason we are celebrating and instead, see it as an opportunity to drink.  It's easy to get carried away with eating and drinking when you're in a celebratory mood, but making mindful choices now is important to maintaining your health - especially when it comes to alcohol consumption.

If you want to serve alcohol to your guests, offer nonalcoholic beverages for those that don't usually drink. Make your guest feel comfortable choosing a nonalcoholic beverage.  You can do this by putting nonalcoholic drinks in a prominent, easily accessible location and by asking guests what they would like to drink, instead of pointing them to the bar or handing them an alcoholic drink when they arrive.

for Non-Alcoholic party drink ideas
A mom called the poison center after her 3 year old daughter ingested some peppermint oil that she was using to make peppermint bark candy. The child was nauseous and had vomited several times. The specialist instructed the mother to give the child clear fluids and hold off on food for about an hour. The specialist advised the mother to call back immediately if her daughter developed severe vomiting or lethargy but she was OK to stay home based on the current symptoms.
Case #2
A specialist received a call about a 4 year old that had broken the tip off a Christmas bubble light. Although the child did not eat any of the glass, he did have a taste of the liquid inside the light, which can be harmful. The parent was advised to wash out the child's mouth and give them fluids to dilute the liquid ingested. The child was not sent into a healthcare facility because it was believed that not enough was ingested and no symptoms were present.   
December 2019 Newsletter

Holiday Safety

With holidays just around the corner, it's a great time to review some of the potentially harmful holiday substances to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

Holiday Decorations:

  • Christmas tree ornaments  are mainly a choking hazard, but some types of angel hair can cause significant irritation to the mouth and throat if ingested. two_ornaments.jpg
  • Some old ornaments might have hidden hazards. Be aware that some of these older decorations  may contain lead or may have been painted with lead based paints.
  • Snow sprays may cause nausea, vomiting, headache and drowsiness if the fumes are inhaled.  Make sure you ventilate the room and take frequent breaks when applying snow sprays.
  • Silicone packs (silica gel):  These are usually packed with Christmas decorations and some gifts. Silica gel is a desiccant used to keep moisture out of products. It can be a choking hazard if ingested but it is non-toxic. 
  • Fireplace colors can contain a variety of heavy metals such as lead, copper, arsenic, barium and selenium.  Upset stomach and vomiting are just some of the many problems these metals can cause.

Holiday Plants: 

Poinsettia : While these plants are a holiday favorite, ingesting large amounts of this plant might cause a mild stomach ache. The sap on the plant can also cause a skin rash. If  handling these plants, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Holly berries: While these berries are visually appealing, if ingested, they can cause a stomach ache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Keep these berries out of reach of children.
  • Mistletoe:All parts of the mistletoe plant are toxic. If this plant is ingested, it can leave you feeling pretty terrible.. Common symptoms of poisoning from this plant include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.
Other Potentially Dangerous Hazards: 
  • Don't leave presents under the tree after they're opened.  A child may be attracted to gifts containing alcohol like liquors, perfume or after-shave.  These products can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sleepiness, and low blood sugar in children is swallowed.  
  • Store antifreeze and windshield washer solution in a locked cabinet, where children and pets can't get to them.
  • Keep relatives' purses, bags and coats (which may contain medications) up high, out of reach and sight of children.  A locked bedroom will also do the trick.
  • Empty ash trays often and when the party is over, clean them up. Ingesting even a few cigarette butts or a full cigarette can result in a trip to the emergbutton batteryency room.
  • Make sure small button batteries are out of reach of children.  If swallowed, button batteries can cause drooling, difficulty swallowing and breathing, and even death. If you suspect a button battery has been ingested, call the poison center hotline immediately.

Call for help
Remember, if you suspect that you or someone you know has been poisoned,  call the toll-free Poison Help line at
your call connects you to your local poison center.
Expert help is available around the clock, every day, even on holidays! Program the poison control phone number into your cell phone today.

Want more poison information???
Don't forget to check out the Texas Poison Center Network's blog !