March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month with the third week in the month as the actual period of observation. The Poison Prevention Awareness week was established in 1962 after being signed into action by then president John F. Kennedy.
The purpose of the week was and is to bring awareness to the variety of poisons that affect people and pets. These include cleaning agents, foods, weed and insect poisons, and basically anything that can be harmful.
Elderly care is a big concern in several respects related to poisons. According to the Poison Control, about five percent of seniors have poison related issues though of these, nearly 20% of the cases ended in death.
The leading cause of poison for seniors, according to the Poison Control, was from issues related to using medications safely.
Caregivers and seniors can assist with elderly care of using prescription medications by:
- Discussing all of the aspects of the medication, including side effects and mixing medications, with a physician
- Having medications arranged in a daily organizer such that the senior doesn’t accidently take an extra dose
- If the senior begins to have any adverse reactions to medications, he or she should contact their physician or get to a hospital right away
- Keep a list of all medications the senior is currently taking
- Keep all medications away from children and pets
Another potential poison for seniors is carbon monoxide. This is a gas emitted from engines and furnaces as well as propane heaters, fireplaces, and even some gas appliances. Because it’s odorless, it is often not detected. This is why it is important to have a carbon monoxide detector in the home; usually near bedrooms to warn those who are asleep.
Carbon monoxide can cause a range of conditions from headaches to confusion and unconsciousness. If an alarm sounds, the senior (and anyone else in the home) should leave immediately.
Still an additional hazard for seniors is insect bites. Some insect bites can cause serious reactions for the senior. And, if he or she is already taking prescription medications, they may not be able to take something for the bite. The senior should contact their physician about what is safe to take in that situation.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Modesto, CA, please contact the caring staff at ApexCare®. Proudly Serving Sacramento, Yolo, Placer & El Dorado Counties. Call Today 916-924-9111.