(RxWiki News) Some holiday decorations, items and even plants can be poisonous. Here’s what you need to know to keep your family safe this holiday season.
1) Poinsettia plants and holly berries
A holiday season staple, the poinsettia plant may look beautiful, but it can cause some harm if eaten by accident.
Although some people believe the poinsettia plant can lead to death if ingested, this is not true. If children and pets eat the poinsettia plant, a mouth rash, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea can occur, but it is not deadly. A skin rash may also occur if the sap from the plant gets on the skin.
Although the plant is not deadly, it still needs to be kept out of reach of children.
Another holiday plant to be mindful of is the holly plant. Holly leaves and berries are common Christmas decorations, but the berries are poisonous to people and pets. Swallowing the berries can cause diarrhea, dehydration, drowsiness and vomiting.
According to the National Capital Poison Center (Poison Control), children have experienced symptoms after swallowing as few as two holly berries.
To ensure your children and pets are safe and to prevent accidental ingestion and poisoning, be sure to remove the berries before decorating with fresh holly.
2) Button batteries and magnets
Be extra cautious about toys that contain button batteries or magnets. Accidental swallowing of button batteries or magnets can lead to serious stomach, throat, and intestinal problems and may even result in death. Button batteries can be found in holiday musical greeting cards, hearing aids and other small electronics/remotes that may be accessible to young children.
3) Fireplace accessories
Products to intensify the appearance of the flame, add color to the flame or make lighting the fire easier have become increasingly common. However, these products can be dangerous and poisonous if kids or pets swallow them. Some flame color enhancers include heavy metals like arsenic, lead and thallium. Other products can cause burns to the esophagus and stomach if swallowed.
Some fire starters contain methanol, also found in windshield washer fluid. Some products contain hydrocarbons, which are often found in fuels and solvents. All of these are poisonous. Keep these products out of reach of children.
4) Carbon monoxide
An estimated 41 percent of reported cases of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure occur during the winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Furthermore, the risk of CO is high if you are traveling this holiday season. That’s because not all states require CO alarms in hotels or in each hotel room. Health and safety experts recommend bringing your own battery-operated travel CO alarm when you are traveling — especially when staying in hotels, apartments or others people’s homes.
If you think someone has been exposed to a poison, use the webPOISONCONTROL® tool or call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.
Speak with your health care provider if you have any questions.
Written by Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS