Poisoning Cases Rise in Utah
In 2019, Utah residents made 44,000 calls to the state’s Poison Control Center — double the rate of every other state in the USA. Certain factors make Utahns more vulnerable to poisoning, but there are measures that can be taken to minimize or eliminate their occurrence.
Toddlers and Kids
Kids have a way of getting their hands on medication, cosmetics, and small items when nobody is watching. Toddlers and kids will randomly put stuff in their mouths, whether they be magnets, batteries, flowers, or any other item that can fit. While most of the things they eat will have no immediate effect, you should still alert medical services or poison control as soon as possible.
Medication is the most dangerous item your kid can ingest. Its effects are almost instant, especially with a child’s constitution. Always keep a close eye on your kids and make sure they have adult supervision at all times. Opt for toys that have screw-on battery cases and make sure to keep children away from small items that they can easily swallow. Most poisoning cases involving children occur during gatherings or when guests are in the house. Children are often overlooked as the adults in the house assume that at least one of them is keeping an eye on the kids.
Prescription overdose or drug poisoning is the leading cause of death among adult Utah residents, with more than 20 deaths per 100,000 residents. While some of these incidents stem from misuse or mixing medication (most notably the ones for managing pain), a large number are also caused by Alzheimer’s or seniors taking their medication multiple times in a single day.
Secure your medication in a safe place and try to keep tabs on their number. If you feel that you, or someone you know, may have dependency problems, get in touch with a local support group before things get out of hand. If your memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be, opt for an automatic pill dispenser that can keep track of your medication for you and ensure you don’t take more than you need.
Cases of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in 2019 rose by 25 percent compared to the previous year. While CO poisoning usually occurs during fires, faulty or leaking furnaces can also release the deadly gas. Last October (2019), 60 people were treated for poisoning after a gas leak at a Provo meetinghouse. Utah winters have also seen rises in CO poisoning cases in Salt Lake City as residents fire-up their furnaces to ward off the cold.
Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless; you won’t be able to notice it until you feel the symptoms of CO poisoning. Symptoms can include persistent headaches and dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and vomiting. Make sure to have your HVAC system checked by reliable contractors to avoid leaks and install CO detectors just in case.
Having double the rate of poisoning compared to other states is not a statistic to be proud of. However, you can take measures to limit the chances of poisoning in your home and hopefully bring down the elevated statistic in the future.