Summer is a very busy time for the Nebraska Regional Poison Center. Registered Nurse and Educator Jean Hammack says children spend a lot of time outdoors and sometimes their curiosity gets the best of them. Plant poisonings can be a big problem as many people put their indoor plants outside. She has a tip on how to easily identify a plant if a child decides to sample its leaves or flowers.
Hammack says, “Putting a popsicle stick with the name of the plant and then putting that in the soil is very helpful – especially if is a babysitter or some other relative that might be there where a child had chewed part of the plant and they would know the name. Then we can guide them on treatment recommendations for that.”
Other plant concerns include those with berries. Mushrooms also look very interesting and enticing to children. There are several varieties that grow in yards and those are the ones that are typically a stomach irritant.
The Poison Center is also concerned about children ingesting gasoline, motor oil, lighter fluid and paint thinners. Those items should be stored in their original container and well out of reach for little hands.
Insect repellents are also a worry. The Poison Center says use only those that are meant to be used on the skin and never over-apply them. Use concentrations of 20% as higher numbers does not mean the product will work better. Use repellents only when outdoors and wash skin with soap and water when you come back inside.
Hammack says another concern is the risk of bites and stings causing an allergic reaction. Many can be treated at home with Poison Center recommendations. Call the Poison Center if someone has been stung by a bee or wasp, suffered a spider or insect bit or was bitten by a snake.
The Poison Center is available 24/7 to answer any questions on plants, insect bites, gasoline or motor oil ingestion. That number is 1-800-222-1222.