Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:47PM - 2349 Views

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Rachel Baldwin

Staff Writer

CHARLESTON – The Fourth of July is a holiday often filled with family, friends, fireworks, food and fun, but the West Virginia Poison Center wants to remind residents of ways to stay poison safe during their holiday festivities.

According to Carissa McBurney, Community Outreach Coordinator for the WV Poison Center, poisonings are the most common when normal routines are interrupted, especially during holidays or parties. The center offers the following poison safety tips that should be inforced during your Fourth of July celebrations.

Although glow sticks and jewelry are not usually a problem, discourage children and pets from biting on them with their teeth. Leaking fluid can irritate the skin, eye, or stomach. While the biggest danger from fireworks is burns, some fireworks can also be poisonous if ingested. Keep fireworks out of reach of small children and pets. Better yet, avoid buying the smaller fireworks, like snakes, if young children will be present.

Lighter fluid for barbeques or fire pits and lamp oil refills for tiki torches can cause serious injury or death if any gets into the lungs after swallowing. Unfortunately, tiki torch fuel can look like apple juice and is often sold in containers that look like juice containers. To prevent accidental poisonings, do not use drinking cups to transfer lighter fluid. Always keep these products in their original container and well away from a child’s reach.

Alcoholic beverages can pose a risk to children and pets. Keep all alcoholic beverages out of reach of children and pets and immediately clean up any left-over containers following your festivities.

To avoid food poisoning during warm weather gatherings; keep hot food hot and cold foods cold. If left at room temperature for long periods, discard all food that would require refrigeration. Make sure all meats are thoroughly cooked and do not use the same plate before cooking and after cooking to avoid cross-contamination.

If you suspect a poisoning has occurred, do not wait for symptoms to appear. Call the WV Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. Medical experts at the center are available 24/7, even on holidays, to answer calls about poison emergencies and poison questions. Write the contact number down and keep it in a place that can be easily accessed by your family. It is also wise to put the number in your cell phone to have it readily available wherever your festivities and celebrations may take you.

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