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Poison safety during Thanksgiving 2020

Turkey on table


SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Thanksgiving is just around the corner and remember, no matter how you choose to celebrate, the holidays pose additional poisoning risks to adults and children especially if family and friends are visiting.

  • Food poisoning can happen during the holidays and result from eating undercooked food or food that has been left out for long periods of time. We remind you to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Switch them out every two hours to prevent a poisoning. In healthy children and adults, many types of food poisonings cause stomach and digestive issues. Although painful, it usually runs its course and requires no treatment other than drinking fluids. If symptoms are severe, or persist for more than 24 hours, a trip to an emergency department may be in order. Young children, elderly people, and people with autoimmune issues are at higher risk for complications.
  • Unfinished alcoholic beverages that are left out pose a risk to curious children. Children are at a higher risk for dizziness, drowsiness or even seizures from drinking alcohol. Additionally, adults may overindulge during the holidays resulting in alcohol toxicity.
  • Nicotine products can pose another threat as they are more commonly found in homes during the holidays, putting children at risk for nicotine toxicity. Ingesting as little as one whole cigarette, three or more cigarette butts, nicotine patches or gum can cause poisoning in children. Be sure to keep nicotine products out of reach of little hands. If a child should develop symptoms from exposure to nicotine, the poison center may recommend a trip to the emergency room.
  • Guests often bring medications in their purses, pockets, or suitcases and sometimes they are not in their original containers allowing easy access. Also, caregivers can forget to keep medicine out of the reach of children and are more likely to take a double dose of medicine when distracted by the pressures of the holiday. Have the number of the poison center available, just in case you need us. Treatment for these exposures is guided by the specific medication and amount taken, so it is important to keep medicine in its original container.
Call us with any questions or concerns during the holiday season. We are available 24/7 and one of our Certified Specialists in Poison Information will always answer your call: 1-800-222-1222!

In the case of a poisoning or for information purposes, call the Upstate New York Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. We are open 24/7, 365 days a year. Each year our center manages more than 50,000 calls from health care providers, 911 operators, hospitals, industry, schools, and the general public in our 54-county service area.

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About Upstate New York Poison Center

Housed inside Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, the Upstate New York Poison Center is dedicated to reducing the number, cost and severity of poisonings within its designated 54-county service area as mandated by New York State Law. The Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to both health professionals and the general public at 1-800-222-1222.

About Upstate Medical University

SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, is the only academic medical center in Central New York. It is also the region's largest employer with 9,460 employees. Affiliated with the State University of New York, Upstate's mission is to improve the health of the community through education, biomedical research and health care.