For years, the most common cause of unintentional fatalities for all ages was car accidents. While car accidents are still a frequent cause of death (they are now number two on the list), poisoning is number one.
Why is poisoning so common?
Many of us tend to think that poisoning is something done deliberately to a person. That is possible, but unintentional poisoning is far more common. And because the dangerous products and items are often in things we use or have contact with every day, we don’t think of them as dangerous, and they don’t always cause us alarm.
According to the National Safety Council, the list of dangerous, and potentially deadly, chemicals and toxins includes:
- Lead poisoning from lead paint and lead dust
- Carbon monoxide from fireplaces, gas ranges, furnaces, grills, stoves and portable generators
- Radon gas seeping into homes or workplaces
- Household cleansers and bug/rodent killers
- Batteries, especially little button batteries that can be swallowed
Surprisingly, these dangers are not at the top of the list of poisoning causes. Prescription drug overdoses are the most common cause.
The dangers of prescription drugs
Just because a medicine or painkiller is prescribed by a doctor, it does not mean that it is safe to use however you wish. You have to use it safely and only according to the doctor’s instructions.
Misuse of prescription drugs, including overdosing on them, is an epidemic in the U.S., with 60 people dying from opioid overdose each day. So what can you do?
- Keep your family safe by making sure children of all ages do not have access to these drugs.
- Don’t share medicines, especially prescription painkillers and opioids, with family or friends.
- Safely dispose of prescription medicines.
- Watch for signs of addiction if anyone in the family is taking prescription painkillers or opioids.
You can learn more about painkiller addiction and overdose here.