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HEALTH HINTS

Poison-proof Your Home

By: Ivan Olegario, MD, MDevComPoison-proof Your Home

The 13th-century Persian poet Rumi once said, “Snake's poison is life to the snake; it is in relation to man that it means death.” This rings true, even in your home. Poisons are commonly found in our homes, disguised as useful household items. It is only when they are used incorrectly or mistakenly ingested that they poison us.

In the Philippines, the most common causes of poisoning are prescription drugs as well as common household agents such as rubbing alcohol, insecticides, kerosene, and laundry and kitchen cleaners. Furthermore, most of the victims of poisoning are children that accidentally ingest these substances, thinking they are harmless drinks or candy.

The good news is, it’s quite easy to prevent poisoning in the home. Just follow these practical tips:

  • Identify high-risk zones.
          Toxic substance (e.g. those mentioned previously) are usually kept under the kitchen sink, in the bathroom or laundry room, in the garage or shed, or in the medicine cabinet where medicines are usually stored.
 
  • Lock them up.
          Lock up cabinets and drawers in these high-risk zones or use special safety latches that prevent children from opening them easily.
 
  • Take medicines with care.
          Buy only the amount of medicines prescribed by your doctor and follow the specific instructions.
          Do not take larger doses or more frequent doses.
          Read warning labels.
          Avoid taking your medicines with alcohol.
          Keep medicines in their original containers with appropriate labels.
          Do not call medicines 'candy' in front of your children.
 
  • Use chemicals with conscientiousness.
          Do not use food containers such as cups and jars to store household chemicals.
          Never mix household products together, as this may cause the release of toxic gases.
          Avoid skin contact with pesticides and other chemicals.
          Keep the room well ventilated when using household chemicals.
          Keep household chemicals properly stored when not in use.

With these tips, you can keep Rumi’s omen away from your abode.

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