(BPT) - It's a serious problem with a simple solution. Nearly 1 million children under the age of 5 are exposed to potentially poisonous medicines and household chemicals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There is no better time than now to learn more about preventing accidental and unintentional poisonings.
"Parents know to keep household cleaners and other chemicals out of a child's reach, but in my experience as a pharmacist, I've seen that they don't always think about prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and vitamins," says Paul Reyes, Express Scripts pharmacist and host of Ask the Pharmacist radio series.
The CDC reports that more than 60,000 young children end up in the emergency room each year from wrongly ingesting medicines; but it's not only parents who need to be aware of the risks. Many of these incidents occur outside of the child's home. In fact, in 23 percent of the cases in which a child under 5 mistakenly ingests an oral prescription drug, the medication belonged to someone who did not live with the child.
"Medications can keep us healthy, but can be extremely dangerous if taken by the wrong person or in the wrong amount," says Reyes. "Add in a child's insatiable curiosity, and you have the ingredients for a very serious and dangerous situation."
Reyes offers these tips for preventing accidental and unintentional poisonings, and what to do if you suspect your child or teen has ingested a potentially poisonous substance:
For more information and additional tips on preventing prescription drug abuse at home, visit lab.express-scripts.com.
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