The number one hazard including fire and medical responses in the Sun City community is MEDICATIONS! The Sun City Fire & Medical Department along with the National Safety Council would like the take a few moments to explain why it is so important to spread the word about poison prevention and our citizens. The age most likely to unintentionally ingest poison is children 0-6 years of age. However, the age group most likely to be hospitalized or killed by unintentional poisoning is senior citizens.
The majority of senior poisonings involve medications, unsafe combinations of medications (both prescription and non-prescription) or the combination of medications and alcohol. Other senior poisonings occur due to memory loss (forgetfulness) or mistaking one medication for another. Unintentional poisonings claim almost 1, 500 senior lives each year!
Medications: Taking & Storing them Safely
- Store all medications out of sight and reach of children (even if the lids are childproof.)
- If your medications are expired, flush them down the toilet, rinse out the container and place the lid back onto the bottle before disposing in the trash receptacle.
- Saving unused medications for later use is unsafe and could be fatal without the direction from your doctor.
- If you take several pills daily, the National Safety Council recommends using an empty egg carton (that holds 1 dozen eggs) so that each cup can be labeled for twelve hours of the day so dosages will be spread out accordingly rather than taking medications for the whole day all at once.
- Communicating with each doctor your medications and any other non-prescription medications is crucial, keep a vial of life handy with all of your updated information listed including the prescription name, dosage, strength, prescribing doctors name and telephone number.
- Ask your pharmacist for large print labels on your prescription bottles.
- Try to use the same pharmacy when filling your prescription medications this way the pharmacist may identify possible health reactions.
- REMEMBER THAT NON-PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS CAN BE JUST AS DEADLY AS PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS!
- Some medical signs and symptoms of poisoning include breathing difficulty, sweating, nausea, headache, dizziness, weakness, seizure, slurred speech, and/or sudden behavior changes (these are some of the most common symptoms however will vary upon the type of poisoning.
Common location of poisons within the home includes the kitchen, bathroom, garage/storage room along with the laundry room. The leading cause of death includes iron supplements (vitamins), pesticides, and products containing hydrocarbons (kerosene, lamp oil, etc.) Examples of common ingested poisons include cosmetics, cleaning substances, indoor plants. Other suggestions for poison prevention include the ability to avoid interruption while using any poisonous products. The majority of unintentional poisonings occur when a person is distracted momentarily. There should be no reason for leaving dangerous chemicals out of place or open when answering the telephone or front door. A very common statement used to prevent drowning also holds true for poisonings “It only takes a few seconds!”
If you have additional questions or comments, please contact the Sun City Fire & Medical Department’s Community Relations Division during normal business hours (Monday-Thursday, 7:00am-5:00pm) by calling (623)974-2321.