Answers and Explanations


1) C. Pain-relieving skin creams often contain benzocaine, dibucaine or lidocaine. A child who swallows just a small amount can have seizures. Some children have even died. If you use these medicines, be sure that you replace them in their child-resistant containers right away. Then lock them out of sight and reach of small children. If you find a child with a tube of pain-relieving skin cream, call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 right away.

2) C. Smoke from burning poison ivy contains the poison ivy oils. Breathing in that smoke can cause poison ivy blisters INSIDE your nose, throat, and breathing passages. Of course, touching poison ivy can also cause poison ivy blisters on your skin.

Be sure that everyone in your family knows how to recognize and avoid poison ivy. Remember, "Leaves of three, let it be". If someone touches poison ivy, immediately rinse with plenty of running water for at least five minutes. If someone has trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency ambulance number right away.

3) C. Of course, we all lived off the land before the days of grocery stores and canned goods. But unless you've had special training in identifying edible plants, DON'T pick your own foods in the wild. Poison hemlock and water hemlock are different plants but each can be fatal to people who eat them. Their roots, or tubers, can look like wild carrots or parsnips. If someone has eaten hemlock or anything that looks like it, call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.

4) B. It's true that most snakes are NOT poisonous. But if you're bitten by a poisonous snake, knowing what to do makes a big difference. If someone is bitten by a snake, call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 right away. The experts at your poison center will help you figure out if the snake was poisonous, then tell you what to do and what to watch for. If it's a non-poisonous snake, you may simply need to wash the wound. You also might need a tetanus booster shot. If the snake may have been poisonous, the poison center experts will give you up-to-date first aid advice. They will then work with the emergency department to be sure that you get up-to-date treatment. (And by the way, wearing shoes can prevent not only snake bites, but can help avoid scorpion stings, too, if you live in scorpion country.)

5) C. Drinking charcoal lighter fluid is dangerous. The same is true of other petroleum-based liquids (hydrocarbons) like gasoline, kerosene, paint thinner, baby oil, lamp oil, furniture polish, etc. When you swallow these and other hydrocarbons, they can easily go down the wrong way and get into your lungs. Only a small amount can cause pneumonia within a few hours. The liquid also spreads out over the inner surface of your lungs, preventing oxygen from entering your blood stream. Charcoal lighter fluid and other hydrocarbons MUST be stored in their original child-resistant containers, locked out of sight and reach of children. When you use these products, do not put them down where children can reach them; immediately lock them away when you're done. If someone has swallowed lighter fluid, or other possible poisons, call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 right away.

6) A. Many kinds of garden chemicals are poisonous to children and adults. They can poison you if swallowed. Also, many can poison you if you breathe them in or get them on your skin. If someone splashes a garden chemical on the skin, rinse with running water for 15-20 minutes. Often, that's easiest in the shower. Take off any contaminated clothing while you're rinsing. If someone has swallowed, breathed in, or splashed some kind of garden chemical, call the poison center right away at 1-800-222-1222.

7) A. Alcohol can be a deadly poison for children. This is true whether children drink beer, wine, mixed drinks, other alcoholic beverages, or mouthwash. Because of their small size and immature livers, children are subject to different effects from adults who overindulge. Children will become drowsy as their central nervous system is affected by alcohol. They can also develop low blood sugar, leading to seizures, coma, and death. If a child swallows something with alcohol in it, call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 right away.

8) A. Poison exposures are common when families visit or travel. Children may get into medicines and possible poisons when they visit in other peoples' homes. Medicines that are locked away at home may be in an open suitcase or low counter when families travel.

Medicines taken by older adults are often extremely dangerous for children. In fact, a child can be dangerously poisoned by swallowing a single table of some medicines used for heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. It's easy to forget how quickly children will reach for what's appealing-and children will put anything they can reach into their mouths. Also, children learn by imitation; children who watch adults taking medicine will try to do the same thing.

When traveling, use child-resistant containers for medicines and lock them securely away from children. A suitcase with a lock might be useful. When visiting in someone else's home, be sure that medicines and other possible poisons are in child-resistant packaging, locked where children cannot see or reach them.

Keep the poison center phone number handy. From anywhere in the U.S., you can call the same number to reach the local poison center: 1-800-222-1222.

9) C. Unless you are an expert, you cannot tell poisonous mushrooms from safe mushrooms. Mushrooms called "death caps" (Amanita phalloides, Amanita verna) grow easily in yards and parks. Eating even a few bites can cause fatal liver damage. There are other types of poisonous mushrooms, too, which can fool you. Get your mushrooms from the market!
Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 right away if someone eats a wild mushroom. The experts at your poison center will tell you what to do, what to watch for, and how to safely save the mushroom in case it needs to be identified later on.

10) F. All of the above steps will help ensure that you have a safe outing. These commons sense steps can help prevent food poisoning from ruining summer fun.