Halloween is such a fun time in the life of a child!
But Halloween is also a time adults must be especially cautious about potential poisonings.
The Texas Poison Center Network suggests a few safeguards to help ensure a trouble-free, enjoyable Halloween for you and your family.
- Glow sticks: Glow sticks top the list of Halloween-related calls to poison control. These contain a chemical known as Dibutyl Phthalate but luckily the concentration is quite low and relatively harmless
- Halloween makeup: Use cosmetics that are intended for use on the face. Test makeup on a small area of skin (the arm) to check for sensitivity before applying it to the face. Avoid applying it around the eyes. Remove makeup before bedtime.
- Halloween candy: Children should never eat Halloween candy until an adult has inspected it. Avoid letting your children eat unwrapped candy or homemade treats! When in doubt, throw it out!
Real Poison Center Cases
CASE 1: A Mom called to get a better understanding of the Benadryl challenge. The poison specialist informed the parent of the dangers of using more than the recommended dosing on the labels of Over-the-Counter (OTC) medicines. Even though an item is OTC, there are still potential dangers when taking higher doses than what is recommended on the label. The Mom was glad she was able to call the Poison Helpline for questions as well as emergencies.
CASE 2: A parent called because their child was caught trying to copy the parents' use of a spray pesticide from a 1 gallon bottle sprayer. The poison specialist asked for the product name, ingredients on the label, and the dilution ratio that the product was mixed at. It was determined that the product was diluted enough that no harm would be caused. The parent was instructed to look at the child's exposed skin to check for any redness and to ask the child if their eyes hurt or burned. The child had no redness or burning sensation of the eyes. Luckily, the child was fine. As an extra step of caution the poison specialist told the parent to bathe the child and have them put on clean clothing.
CASE 3: A Dad called because his child rubbed the magazine sheet with the perfume sample on their face and the child was complaining of their eyes burning. The poison specialist had the Dad rinse the child's eyes and face for 15 minutes. The child was fine afterwards. It was determined that it most likely wasn't the product that caused the burning sensation, but rather that the child rubbed the paper on their face too hard.
The cold, flu & COVID-19
The common cold, Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are all contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone; testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. The Flu,COVID-19 and the common cold all share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between them.
Difference between the flu & the common cold?
In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms are more common and intense. It can be difficult (or even impossible) to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Special tests are needed, usually within the first few days of illness to determine if a person has the flu.
What are some similarities & differences between the flu & COVID-19?
- Both COVID-19 and a flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms.
- Common symptoms of COVID-19 and flu include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Sore throat Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle pain or body aches
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
- Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may include change in or loss of taste or smell.
What can I take to alleviate my symptoms?
- Since there is no cure for the flu, a cold, or COVID-19, it is important to check with your healthcare provider to receive a proper diagnosis & for appropriate treatment advice.
- In general, plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids are key.
- Additionally, since antibiotics don't treat a cold, the flu or COVID-19, and although treating your symptoms with over-the-counter medications (OTC) may give you some relief, you should check with your doctor first.
- For example, if you have the flu, pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen may reduce your fever and the aches.
- OTC decongestants containing pseudoephedrine can help dry and clear nasal passages, but usually only temporarily.
Before you head straight to your medicine cabinet or the pharmacy check out these tips on OTC medicines:
All US, over-the-counter (OTC) medicine labels have detailed usage and warning information so consumers can properly choose and use the products appropriately.
Below is an example of what the OTC medicine label includes.
- Active Ingredient: these are the ingredients that make the medicine work
- Uses: Symptoms or diseases the product will treat or prevent.
- Warnings: When not to use the product; conditions that may require advice from a doctor before taking the product; possible interactions or side effects; when to stop taking the product and when to contact a doctor; if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, seek guidance from a health care professional; keep product out of children's reach.
- Inactive Ingredients: Substances such as colors, flavors, preservatives, etc.
- Purpose: Product action or category (such as antihistamine, antacid, or cough suppressant.
- Directions: Specific age categories, how much to take, how to take, and how often and how long to take.
- Other Information: How to store the product properly and required information about certain ingredients (such as the amount of calcium, potassium, or sodium the product contains)
The Label Also Tells You...
- The expiration date, when applicable (date after which it is not recommended to use the product).
- Lot or batch code (manufacturer information to help identify the product).
- Name and address of manufacturer, packer, or distributor.
- Net quantity of contents (how much of the product is in each package).
- What to do if an overdose occurs, call poison control immediately at 1-800-222-2222.
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