Common Poison Dangers for Adults

National Poison Prevention Week is March 15-21. Misuse of medication represents a major poison hazard for adults, says Agueda Hernandez, M.D., medical director of the Baptist Health Medical Group’s Family Medicine Center.

“When taking prescription or over-the-counter medicine, it’s important to look at the recommended dose and carefully follow directions and limits,” Dr. Hernandez says. “More is not always better, especially when you’re taking cold medicine or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).”

Accidental overdoses or misuse of medicines could lead to toxic consequences such as liver failure, damage to the kidneys and stomach, or a cardiovascular event in extreme cases, Dr. Hernandez says.

Federal regulators and other medical experts have issued alerts about safe doses of Acetaminophen, an ingredient that is found in cold medicine, pain killers and other products. Too often people err by taking more than the recommended daily dose or by consuming a combination of drugs that contain Acetaminophen and through the combination accidentally exceed the daily recommended dose, medical experts say.

“Make sure to read the label. So many overdoses are inadvertent poisonings,” Dr. Hernandez says.

Here is a list of the top poison hazards for adults from the National Poison Capital Center:

Pain relievers
Cleaning substances
Cardiovascular drugs
Stimulants and street drugs
Cosmetics/personal care products
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