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Home Sweet Home? | The Aging Suite
  • Home Sweet Home?

    Posted on March 15, 2010 by in Featured

    Our homes are our oasis, a safe and comforting place.  Yet, sometimes we unwittingly endanger ourselves and with unsafe items.   The Week of March 14 – 20 is National Poison Prevention Week. Poisonings occur each year preventing thousands of seniors from aging in place.

    Senior citizens are at increased risk for medication poisoning because they often take multiple medications.  Prevent medication poisoning by:

    • Carefully reading medication labels and making sure that taking your medication with food and alcohol is not contraindicated
    • Talking to your doctor before you take over the counter medications including natural supplements
    • Throwing out old medications, old medications can be dangerous
    • Not sharing your prescriptions with friends or family members

    Medications aren’t the only source of poisonings in the home.  According to the EPA, every 13 seconds, the US Poison Control Centers get calls regarding poison exposure

    Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a serious problem and can kill before someone even realizes that they’ve been poisoned.  Senior citizens, children, and those with heart and lung problems are at increased risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning include:

    • Nausea/vomiting
    • Headaches
    • Dizziness
    • Disorientation
    • Fatigue

    Carbon monoxide poisoning can be of greater concern in the winter when people are heating their homes.  Carbon monoxide gas can be produced from:

    • Furnaces
    • Wood stoves
    • Fireplaces
    • Kerosene heaters

    Simple steps can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.  They include:

    • Installing carbon monoxide alarms throughout the home
    • Using the oven to heat your home
    • Never running your car in the garage, even if the garage door is open
    • Having a professional check your home, including your appliances, furnace, and chimney annually

    Everyday cleaning products can be a source of poisoning as well.  Mixing bleach and ammonium creates deadly chlorine gas.  Prevent poisonings from household products by:

    • Reading the labels on your household cleaners
    • Wearing gloves and opening windows when using cleaning products

    To learn more about poison control click here

    Sources:  Fact sheet: Prevention of Accidental Poisoning among Elderly American Association of Poison Control Centers

    US Environmental Protection Agency

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