Poisonings are far more common than we realize.
And they are far more deadly, too.
In fact, drug-related poisonings cause 700,000 trips to the emergency room each year and cause 35,000 deaths per year.
Who is at risk? Everyone. This isn't just a case of a child climbing under the sink and eating a detergent or cleaning product or finding a pill on the floor and swallowing it. That does happen.
And while children under the age of 6 account for more than half of poisonings each year, more than 9 out of 10 deaths occur in people older than 20. The misuse of medicine, whether it's intentional or not, is the leading cause of poisoning deaths.
National Poison Prevention Week is observed this week. Perhaps one of the greatest prevention efforts we have is the ability to pick up the phone and being able to dial 1-800-222-1222.
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, by dialing that number you will be immediately connected to a staff member of the West Virginia Poison Control Center. Those answering the calls include nurses, pharmacists and physicians with special training in the treatment of poisonings.
By dialing one simple number, poison control specialists can answer questions about: Accidental poisonings of children and adults, drug overdoses, bites and stings; reactions to drugs and chemicals; drug interactions; poisoning of animals; chronic lead poisoning; toxic or non-toxic plant information; and poisonings from drugs of abuse.
And while parents, guardians and caretakers of children under the age of of 6 are frequent callers to the West Virginia Poison Control Center, keep in mind that the center is also used by emergency officials and health-care providers, too, to get important information about diagnosing and treating poisoning.
Of course, an ounce of prevention is more valuable than a pound of cure, so just knowing about the risks in your home or workplace will help you in the event of an emergency. Also, keep important information about medicines used in your household, like dosages and who takes what and how often.
Also. post poison control's number on your refrigerator or bulletin board. Program 1-800-222-1222 into your cell phone under "Poison Control." Not having to take precious seconds to track down a number could literally save a life.
Poisonings are far more common than we realize.
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Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?
I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
“Will the owner of a green Cavalier with a dog inside please report to the lawn and garden center.”
I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.
We must take all weather emergency alerts seriously
In a weather emergency, every second counts.
Think back to the derecho that devastated the state just two years ago. The powerful wind storm caused nearly 700,000 people in West Virginia to lose electricity, some who didn’t have power restored for weeks. A state of emergency was declared, and all but two of the state’s 55 counties sustained some damage or loss of power.
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