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Senior Life: Tips for Healthy Living - National Poison Prevention Week


Every year, the third full week of March is devoted to National Poison Prevention Week.  This is sponsored by the National Poison Prevention Week Council and is meant to increase awareness to poison control centers as well as the hotline that can be reached 24/7.  This awareness allows for the dangers of poisonings to be highlighted to people of all ages.  This week also helps increase and promote community engagement in preventing poisonings as anyone could be affected by this.

• There are 56 poison control centers in the U.S.    

   in which more than 2 million poisonings are 

   reported annually

• Over 90% of poisonings occur in a person’s home

• Most non-fatal poisonings occur in those less  

   than 6 years of age

• According to the Centers for Disease Control   

   and Prevention (CDC), in the U.S., poisoning 

   is the number one cause of death from injuries

Proper and safe storage of common household items such as medications, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, lawn care items, pesticides, and batteries is important to help decrease the risk of unintentional poisonings.  These items should be kept out of reach from children, grandchildren, and pets and should be put back after each use.  This includes medications such as inhalers, insulin devices (vials or pens), or other injectable medications.  Proper storage, in original containers with the original label is important so individuals know what each product is and how to safely use it.  Safety caps should also be used, but the use of these caps does not mean that potentially poisonous or harmful items do not still need to be stored safely.

Children need to be educated on medication safety so they understand what medication are and why a trusted adult must give it to them.  

Medications should not be compared to candy, even if the child doesn’t like taking medicine.

According to the CDC, every year, around 50,000 young children go to the emergency room because they got into medications when they were unsupervised.

One way to decrease this risk is to dispose of unused medications.  Many Lewis Drug locations now have MedDrop boxes available near the pharmacy.  These boxes are bright green in color and are approved by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a convenient and safe way to dispose of pharmacy waste in the correct manner.  Visit the MedDrop box at your Lewis Drug pharmacy to get rid of all expired, unused, or unwanted medications including those you get over the counter or for your pets.

Items that are not allowed to be disposed of in MedDrop boxes includes trash, regulated medical waste, sharps, syringes, thermometers, hazardous waste, illicit drugs, commercial waste, or aerosols.

South Dakota

Aberdeen           Beresford        Brandon         
Brookings           Canton           Centerville
Chamberlain       Clark              Clear Lake                     
De Smet             Dell Rapids      Elk Point
Flandreau           Huron             Lennox
Madison             Milbank          Mitchell
Sioux Falls(All Locations)         Sisseton
Tea                    Viborg          Wessington Springs


Hull                  Ida Grove
Moville             Rock Valley        
Sheldon            Sibley             
Sioux Center      Spirit Lake

There many reasons why it is important to safely dispose of medications you are no longer taking.

If you have discontinued medications with your current meications you might be more likely to take it by accident later or to get it confused with another medication.

If a poisoning or overdose is suspected, it is important to act immediately.  The poison control center can be contacted by calling 1-800-222-1222.  They will be collecting information regarding what happened in order to make specific recommendations based on the situation. This phone number should be posted somewhere in your home where others can see it, in the event of a poisoning.  It is also recommended to program it into your cell phone.  The poison control center can be contacted 24/7, 365 days a year.

The National Capital Poison Center’s website also has guidance on what should be done for different types of poisonings, including those that involve the skin, eyes, or inhaled poisons.  Visit for more information. Also, talk with your Lewis pharmacist today about how to safely store or dispose of your medications.


CDC-National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP). Put Your Medicines Up and and Away and Out of Sight.  June 10, 2020. 

Cincinnati Childrens. “Drug and Poison Information Center. National Poison Prevention Week. Accessed 1/31/2021. 

Health Resources and Services Administration. “National Poison Prevention Week”. Accessed 1/24/2021. 

National Capital Poison Center. “Get Poison Control Help”. Accessed 1/31/2021.

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