Avoid a life-threatening poisoning in a hurricane

Along with damaging winds and rains, hurricanes also bring the threat of poisonings with them.  Here are some prevention and survival steps that can help you avoid a poisoning after the storm. 


Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by…

  • only using generators outside, more than 20 feet away from your home, doors, and windows.

  • never using a gas stove, camp stove, or charcoal grill inside to heat your home. 

  • making sure you have a carbon monoxide detector, with battery backup, on every level of your home.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is called the “silent killer” because it has no color and no distinct odor.  Symptoms of CO poisoning can feel like the flu.  If you are having headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, or confusion, get to fresh air, and call the poison control center (1-800-222-1222) or 911 right away.

Avoid food poisoning and water contamination by…

  • keeping freezer and refrigerator doors closed.  A full freezer usually keeps food cold for about 48 hours.  Refrigerators will keep food cold for about four hours.

  • placing a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer to monitor temperatures.  If the temperature is 40 degrees or higher, throw food out.

  • having food on hand that does not need to be refrigerated.

  • boiling water, if water service is hindered and you don’t have bottled water.  The EPA has these water disinfecting guidelines.  

Remember, when in doubt, throw it out.

Avoid snake bite poisoning by…

  • recognizing that snakes will be displaced by flooding.

  • watching where you step when flooding has occurred, even in areas that are not under water.

  • carrying a flashlight at night and at dusk.

Don’t try to pick up or kill a snake.  It may bite you in the process.

 

The NC Poison Control Center is available by phone (1-800-222-1222) or chat (www.NCPoisonCenter.org) if you think a poisoning has occurred.  Phone lines can sometimes be busy in a storm.  If internet connection is available, chatting with poison control may be a more reliable form of communication.  Don’t forget to keep electronic devices charged and ready for use.

For more information, visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes.   

 

Another case in NC of tainted synthetic cannabinoids causing severe bleeding being investigated

Increasingly, people across the country are becoming sick from synthetic cannabinoids that have been contaminated with a poison used to kill rodents.  Cases where patients experienced severe bleeding after using synthetic cannabinoids were initially discovered in Durham, but now a third case in Forsyth County has been identified.  See the warning that state public health officials and Carolinas Poison Center are issuing here.
 

It's snakebite season.  Are you prepared?  
A woman in Charlotte shares her experience of being bitten by a poisonous snake.  Watch her story here about how she came to be bitten, and what the poison control center can do to help,  You can also order one of our snake packs that provides information that can help prevent a snake bite from happening.  It also provides first aid steps in the event of a bite.    

Call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 if someone is bitten by a snake.  The center may be able to help manage the bite at home as not all snake bites require antivenom.     


DHHS and Carolinas Poison Center following CBD exposures
See this press release issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services about a joint effort to understand the increase in Emergency Room visits related to potentially contaminated cannabidiol (CBD) oil used in e-cig devices or vaporizing pens.     


Carolinas Poison Control Center receives Member of the Year Award

Safe Kids Charlotte Mecklenburg has named Carolinas Poison Center the 2017 Member of the Year.  The award is given to coalition members who make a significant impact in the area of childhood injury prevention.  Coalition members vote on the award recipient.

This year, the Carolinas Poison Control Center launched an educational PowerPoint targeted to teens about the proper use of medications and how to avoid medication poisonings.  That PowerPoint can be accessed here.

In addition, the center debuted online chat, which allows an alternative way for people to contact the center about a poisoning.  Since the inception of chat about a month ago, just over half of chats (where an age was provided) have concerned someone 18 years old and younger.

The center also connects the coalition to the latest poisoning data and trends to help identify vulnerable populations, detail poisoning threats that can be addressed by the coalition as a whole, and determine poison prevention messaging that can be shared with others.  The center gladly distributes poison prevention materials to coalition members and to anyone in the general public.  Click here to see the full line of education materials offered by Carolinas Poison Control.


Concerns over contact with fentanyl addressed

Should EMS professionals fear an exposure to fentanyl when arriving on the scene of a suspected fentanyl overdose?  The Medical Director of Carolinas Poison Control Center, Dr. Michael Beuhler, helps shed some light on what a fentanyl overdose looks like and if there is cause for concern when experiencing incidental contact with fentanyl.  Click here to read more.

First responders:  click here to download a fact sheet from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) about dermal exposure to fentanyl.    


Carolinas Poison Center celebrates 25 years with PSA 
In 2017, Carolinas Poison Center is marking its 25th anniversary. As the state of North Carolina’s only poison control center, we’ve advised people through a lot of ingestions, inhalations, envenomations, exposures on the skin, or in the eyes. Hear from our staff as they describe a day in the life of a poison control center and why they love what they do.

Watch the 25th anniversary PSA video