By Charise Smith
Woodward, Okla. —
Each year officials say more than 2 million poisonings occur with more than 90 percent occurring in the home.
In 2012, the Oklahoma Poison Control Center received nearly 48,000 calls, with more than 57 percent of the calls relating to children under the age of 5. This week (March 17-23) the Oklahoma Poison Control Prevention Center will be teaming up with several different organizations in the National Poison Prevention Week, to raise awareness of poisoning hazards and how to prevent poisonings.
“ Every 30 seconds a child is poisoned,” said Whitney Kemp, Education Coordinator with the Oklahoma Poison Control Center. Each day of the prevention week will have a theme. Monday's theme is “Children act fast,” Tuesdays “Protecting while saving time and money,” Wednesday is “Poisoning spans a lifetime,” Thursday is “Home safety,” Friday is “Prescription painkillers,” and Saturday is “ What to do if you get poisoned.”
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., on March 23, the poison control center will team up with the Oklahoma City Zoo to host Poison Prevention Awareness Day. Children and families will be invited to participate in this free event held in the Global Plaza.
There will be 5 different stations set up to teach children about different dangers related to poison control. The first station will be about the Poison Control Center in general and what they do. The second station will talk about medication safety tips and proper disposal of medication. The third station will be about poisonous bugs of Oklahoma and the different bites and stings from spiders, wasps, and more. The fourth station will talk about poisons in the home and how to store them. And the fifth station will talk about the dangers of tobacco.
Children who complete all 5 of the poison prevention stations will be entered in a drawing to win a new bicycle donated by the Oklahoma Poison Control Center and The OU College of Pharmacy, and a helmet donated by the Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition.
The Oklahoma Poison Control Center has also partnered up with Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition, Oklahoma Department of Education, Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Oklahoma PTA in the Annual National Poison Prevention Week Poster Contest. A first, second, third, and runner-up will be chosen. The winners of the poster contest will be invited to the Oklahoma City Zoo on March 23, for an awards ceremony at 1:45 p.m. in their honor. The first place winner will receive a Nintendo DS, second place will receive a kids karaoke machine, third place will receive a portable DVD player, and the runner-up will receive an art kit.
The winning posters from the Oklahoma contest will be sent to the National Poison Prevention Council for national judging. The national winning posters will then become part of the National Poison Prevention Week media campaign for the next year. Winning posters are viewed in schools, state capitals, hospitals, daycares, and many other locations all across the country.
Kemp says the Oklahoma Poison Control Center is the only poison center in Oklahoma. The center is a program of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy at the OU Health Sciences Center. It is one of the 57 accredited regional poison control centers in the United States.
She said all calls are answered by specially trained pharmacists and nurses. They can answer questions about products, medication reactions, poisonous plants, bugs, exposure to household and outside chemicals and even questions involving tobacco and alcohol.
“When in doubt always call the center,” Kemp said, “Internet is not a reliable source when it comes to your health.”
The Oklahoma Poison Control Center is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
“One call can get you the right answer," Kemp said.
The Oklahoma Poison Control Center is a valuable resource for all Oklahomans. They provide immediate, free, and expert treatment advice, including medication information. To reach Poison Prevention Help-line you can call 800-222-1222.
For more information about National Poison Prevention Week,the Oklahoma Poison Control Center, to order educational materials or schedule a presentation you can contact Whitney Kemp or Shirley Christie at 405-271-5062.