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State poison control experts warn of holiday dangers

The Palmetto Poison Center released important details they want families to keep in mind to...
The Palmetto Poison Center released important details they want families to keep in mind to protect children during the holiday season.(AP File Photo)
Updated: Dec. 21, 2020 at 10:52 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The Palmetto Poison Center released important details they want families to keep in mind to protect children during the holiday season.

UofSC College of Pharmacy’s Palmetto Poison Center Director Dr. Jill Michels said holiday poisonings happen each year because people get out of their normal routine.

“Accidents can easily be avoided during the holidays if we are take preventative measures by keeping items such as alcohol, cleaners, plants, and medications up and out of reach of children,” she said. “Keep in mind that not all homes are poison safe.

The most common holiday hazards include holiday plants, decorations and alcohol, the experts say.

  • Mistletoe and Holly: All parts of these plants are poisonous and may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
  • Poinsettia: This plant is not as toxic as once thought. Ingestions of very large amounts may be harmful. A small amount accidentally ingested by a child may result in mild stomach upset. The sap from the plant may cause skin irritation.
  • Christmas Trees: The sap from Cedar Christmas trees may cause skin irritation. Coniferous trees such as pines, spruces and firs may be harmful if ingested in large amounts. Small amounts may cause stomach upset. The needles can be a choking hazard.
  • Christmas Cactus: This plant is non-toxic.
  • Ornaments and Decorations: Garland, tinsel, and tree ornaments can be a choking hazard and may also cause injury if they are broken.
  • Button batteries can be found in toys, greeting cards, remotes, jewelry, flameless candles and more. They can cause serious burns and even permanent injuries if swallowed. If you suspect a button battery has been swallowed, seek medical help right away.
  • Left over cocktails, unlabeled alcoholic drinks in the refrigerator and even your gifts of cologne and perfume can be a source for alcohol poisoning in children.
  • Ingesting a couple of ounces of liquor can be potentially fatal to a small child weighing around 30 pounds.
  • Alcohol consumption can cause a child’s blood sugar to drop, which can lead to seizures or a coma.

The Palmetto Poison Center provides services to more than 5 million residents in all 46 counties of the state.

To contact the Palmetto Poison Center, call 1-800-222-1222.

Services are free, confidential and available 24 hours per day.

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