Springtime brings new poison exposure dangers, warns the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) in a recent press release. Among these hazards are poisonous plants, snakes, pesticides and fuel products.

With the arrival of warmer temperatures, many people begin planting and tending to a garden. However, the use of pesticides and fertilizers to supplement a green thumb can pose potential hazards.

“Use your common sense when using pesticides,” explains AAPCC Board Member Edward P. Krenzelok, PharmD, director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center. “Always follow label directions and remember to keep children and pets away from pesticides.”

Dr. Krenzelok offers the following suggestions:
  • Keep pesticides locked up where children cannot see them or reach them.
  • Keep pesticides in their original containers.
  • Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container tightly after use.
  • Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling or using pesticides.
Nice weather also means cutting the grass and firing up the grill. As a result, fuels such as gasoline, kerosene and charcoal lighter fluid are often left around the yard. Always keep these products secure from children.

Not all mushrooms are poisonous, but they should never be eaten unless they have been certified safe by an expert. To protect children, check your yard regularly for mushrooms and dispose of any you find. Instruct children never to touch, taste or eat any outdoor mushrooms.

Warm weather inevitably brings out insects. Wear a Medic-Alert bracelet if you suffer from a life-threatening allergic reaction to insect bites or stings.

In the spring, snakes emerge from their winter hibernation hungry for food and water. The best way to prevent snake bite is to avoid them — most people are bitten when trying to capture or otherwise disturb the creatures.

Poison control centers around the country are prepared to respond with information and treatment advice about springtime poison exposures. To reach a local poison center, call 1-800-222-1222. More information about poison exposures may be found on the AAPCC’s Website at http://www.aapcc.org.