Every year, over two million poisonings are reported to poison control centers across the United States. According to the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration, more than 90% of those poisonings occur at home.

Being aware of common household poisons is essential for maintaining a safe environment, especially if you have children or pets. Here’s what you should know about common household poisons.

  1. Types of household poisons: Common household poisons can include cleaning products, medications (prescription and over-the-counter), pesticides, plants, and certain foods.
  2. Symptoms: Symptoms of poisoning can vary widely depending on the substance ingested or exposed to, but may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, dizziness, confusion, seizures, and unconsciousness.
  3. Store household poisons out of reach of children and pets, preferably in locked cabinets or areas. Keep products in their original containers with child-resistant caps. Never transfer substances to food containers, as this can lead to confusion.
  4. Labeling: Ensure that all containers are clearly labeled with their contents, and follow the instructions for use and storage provided by the manufacturer.
  5. Dispose properly: Dispose of unused or expired medications properly. Many communities have medication take-back programs or provide guidelines for safe disposal.
  6. First Aid: In case of poisoning, call you local poison control center or emergency services immediately. Follow their instructions and provide as much information as possible about the substance involved.
  7. Carbon Monoxide: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced by appliances such as gas stoves, furnaces, and water heaters. Install CO detectors in your home and ensure proper ventilation of these appliances.
  8. Lead: Older homes may have lead-based paint, which can be a source of lead poisoning, especially for children. If you suspect lead paint in your home, consult with professionals for safe removal.
  9. Safe Use of Chemicals: When using household cleaning products, pesticides, or other chemicals, always follow safety instructions, use gloves and protective clothing if necessary, and ensure proper ventilation.
  10. Plants: Some common houseplants can be toxic if ingested. Research plants before bringing them into your home, especially if you have pets or small children.
  11. Training: Educate yourself, your family members, and caregivers about the potential hazards of household poisons and how to respond in case of an emergency.
  12. Storage of food: Store food properly to prevent contamination or accidental ingestion of harmful substances. Keep toxic substances away from food preparation areas.

By being proactive and informed about common household poisons, you can help prevent accidents and ensure the safety of your household.