Consumer Alert: Accidental poisonings increase during the holiday season

Consumer Alert: Avoid accidental poisoning this holiday season

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Clostridium perfringens. It’s the strain of bacteria associated with cooked food that’s been sitting out too long. And it’s just one of the hidden hazards that keep the folks at Poison Control really busy during the holidays.

if you’re like my family, you sit and eat and talk and laugh and play games and share stories and watch football, and then you get up to eat again. The folks at Poison Control warn that while you’re watching the game and enjoying your family, the food sitting out in the kitchen has a family of bacteria inviting aunts, uncles, and cousins twice removed to feast on your food. Experts say put the food on the fridge.

The folks with Upstate Poison New York chatted with News10NBC about other hidden hazards.

“You might be getting your cleaning products out more often as you’re cleaning for guests to come, and we get distracted,” said Amy Hoffman-James, a public health educator with Upstate Poison Control. “We have to make sure those get put away as well as our medications. The hustle and bustle of the season makes it easy to be distracted by things that could be dangerous to people in your home or people visiting your home. So, cleaning products and medications are always at the top of our list of concerns.”

And for many of us, our tree is more than a decoration.  It holds cherished pieces of family history. But those decorations passed down from Grandma could be laden with lead and should be moved to the top of your tree, away from those curious visiting toddlers.

And while poinsettia is mildly toxic, that mistletoe is far more so.  If an accident happens, the rule of thumb is if the victim is unconscious, call 911.  If the victim is awake, call Poison Control.

“There’s many many times, most times even, that we can manage that exposure in the home with some at-home remedies that you already have in the house,” said Hoffman-James.  “And we do stay on the phone and talk you through that, and we’ll stay on the phone five minutes out. 10 minutes out.”

If you need them, Poison Control is there. The number is 1-800-222-1222.  There are few things that mar your holiday fun more than feeling crummy.  Precautions now assure we can enjoy the family through that third serving of Aunt May’s sweet potato pie.