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Health Minister Calls for Proper Storage of Chemicals to Prevent Accidental Poisoning PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 June 2012 00:00

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson is calling on parents and guardians to take the necessary precautions to prevent children from consuming household chemicals and poisons.  Data from the Ministry of Health’s National Surveillance Unit indicate that of the 566 confirmed cases of accidental poisoning reported in 2011, 82% or 463 occurred in children under 5 years old and 67% or 382 in children 2 years and under.

 

“We still have a major problem when we see the majority of reported poisonings occurring in children. With the summer holidays coming up, parents and guardians are being urged to store household chemicals properly and out of the reach of children. Children should also be supervised at all times,” Minister Ferguson said. The data show that 79 or 14% of reported poisonings in children took place during the summer months when they are out of school.

 

The most common agents implicated in the cases of accidental poisoning were bleach, pesticides and kerosene. Bleach was responsible for 39% or 224 of the total confirmed cases, pesticides were responsible for 14% or 77 cases and kerosene accounted for 4% or 25 cases.

 

It is also possible for children to overdose on medicines that are lying around the house and this can cause harm. Parents are therefore cautioned to also keep these substances out of the reach of children.

 

In the event of ingestion of poisons, persons should visit the nearest health centre or hospital immediately. They can also call the Poison Prevention Hotline at 1-888-POISON (764-7667) for more information.

 

This week is being observed as poison prevention week under the theme “Poison Prevention: Safeguarding yourself”.

 

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 Contact: MOH, Public Relations Unit Tel: 967-1561

You can view this press release and other information on our website at www.moh.gov.jm

 

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