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Posted on: June 5, 2021

10 Ways to Prevent Summer-Related Poisonings from the NJ Poison Control Center

NJ Poison control information

10 Ways to Prevent Summer-Related Poisonings from the NJ Poison Control Center:


•    When preparing food, do not cross-contaminate. Raw foods can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses and parasites which can cause severe illness (food poisoning). Wash hands with soap and water before and after handling raw food. 

•    Marinate food in the refrigerator and not on the counter to prevent bacteria from growing. Do not put the marinade that had contact with raw meat, fish or poultry on cooked foods. 

•    Use caution while being in the sun as some medications can greatly increase the risk for heat-related illness and/or severe sunburn even when using sunscreen. Limit your time in the sun during the hottest times of the day. Apply and reapply broad-spectrum sunscreen that is water-resistance, SPF 30 or higher, and contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as active ingredients.

•    Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a serious threat even during the summer. If you lose power, place gas generators at least 20 feet away from your home and your neighbors. Grills and camp stoves should never be used inside campers, tents, and boat cabins. When boating, do not idle and always swim and play away from rear swim decks or water platforms where engines usually vent.

•    Store charcoal lighter fluid and lamp/torch oil in locked cabinets, away from food and drink items. Lamp oil refill bottles closely resemble juice containers and mistaken identity mishaps happen often. Swallowing these products can lead to serious poisoning and even death in children and pets.

•    Use caution when drinking alcoholic beverages while taking medicine. Many ingredients used in medicines can interact dangerously with alcohol causing side effects like nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, fainting, and/or loss of coordination. Dangerous interactions can still occur even if the medicine and alcohol were not ingested at the same time. 

•    Do not pick or eat plants/mushrooms growing in the wild, even those you find in your own yard. Many people suffer serious health effects and even die each year from mushroom poisoning. 

•    Clean up immediately after parties. Cigarette butts, alcohol, liquid nicotine/vaping devices, and THC-containing products including edibles, can be extremely dangerous to both children and pets. Even swallowing small amounts of these products can be dangerous and cause serious health effects including death. 

•    Be on the lookout for poison ivy, oak, and sumac when spending time outdoors. These poisonous plants are common causes of seasonal, allergic contact dermatitis (rash). When touched, the oils from the plant can cause a mild to severe itchy rash – blisters, swelling, and redness. Do not scratch the rash as the dirt from your nails and hands can cause an infection.

•    When using powdered chlorine to treat a swimming pool, avoid shaking the container to minimize dust, fumes and splashes. Open containers only in well-ventilated areas and preferably outdoors. Never mix chlorine with ammonia, an acid or other cleaning solutions. Doing so produces toxic gases that can have life-threatening effects.

If you have questions, concerns or an emergency regarding something potentially dangerous, contact the medical professionals at your local poison control center, 1-800-222-1222. Do not wait until symptoms occur or spend time looking for medical information online. Get the immediate medical help you or a loved one needs from your local poison center. Poison control center services are free, confidential, available 24/7, and information can be communicated in any language.  

If someone is unconscious, not breathing, hard to wake up, or having a seizure, call 9-1-1 immediately.

NJ Poison control information

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