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Safety Tips for Safer Thanksgiving Gatherings

OKLAHOMA CITY – As families gather and get busy socializing during Thanksgiving, they may not be as diligent about locking up medications and household cleaners as they normally are throughout the year.

“Last year, we received about 260 calls during the week of Thanksgiving regarding medication exposures, with an additional 360 calls about other substances found around the home such as household cleaners, cosmetics and personal care products,” noted Scott Schaeffer, managing director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information, adding that while the number of calls remains fairly consistent from year to year, many of these exposures are preventable.

Here are some quick tips for preventing or dealing with any poisonings during your Thanksgiving festivities:

·         Save the Poison Help number (800-222-1222) in your cell phone and display it somewhere in your home, like on your refrigerator. Experts are standing by, 24/7/365, to answer your questions and help you in the event of a poison emergency or if you have questions. Calls are free and confidential.

·         Entertaining guests in your home? Keep anything that might be dangerous to children, pets or visitors up, away and out of sight. Examples include alcohol, medicine, fragrance oils, button batteries, household pesticides and vaping products. You may have guests staying with you during the holidays. Provide them with a safe place to store their medication. Traveling with a pill organizer may be convenient, but these organizers are easy to open and attractive to young children.

·         Take steps to prevent food poisoning by reading and following the directions on everything you prepare. One in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year. Most will recover without any lasting effects from their illness, but for some the effects can be serious or even deadly. If you have questions regarding a possible case of food poisoning call the poison help line. Foodsafety.gov is a helpful resource for safe food preparation tips as well as to learn about food recalls.

Pharmacists and registered nurses at the poison center are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (800) 222-1222. Please do not email the poison center or a member of the poison center staff, as poisoning emergencies are not handled through email. The Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information is a program of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy at the OU Health Sciences Center. For more information, log on to www.oklahomapoison.org.