Countless 4th of July celebrations this year will feature cookouts, fireworks and holiday parties with friends and family. But the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) is warning that the warm weather, flammable materials and outdoor activities can also bring poisoning hazards that can ruin any festivities.
“During holiday gatherings, unexpected, everyday items can lead to harmful exposures that threaten you and your family’s health,” says Michael Wahl, MD, Medical Director, IPC. “It’s important to take common sense steps to protect your loved ones so everyone can enjoy the celebrations.”
Before firing up the grill and watching the fireworks, review these simple safety precautions from the IPC.
- Keep all tiki torch oils, lighter fluids and other flammables in their original containers, locked up and out of the reach of children. Ingesting these products can lead to severe lung damage, and can be fatal;
- Open and use all pool chemicals in a very well-ventilated area, and wear eye and skin protection;
- Keep young children away from open alcohol containers, as small amounts of alcohol can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, or coma in toddlers due to their small size and weight.
- Wear clothing that will cover as much exposed skin as possible in order to protect from plant poisonings, like poison ivy, and insect bites and stings; and
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold to avoid food poisoning.
- Let children put glow sticks or other substances in their mouths—liquid in the tube may cause skin, eye or stomach irritation, swelling and pain around the mouth, or persistent nausea and vomiting;
- Leave food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours after cooking; and
- Eat wild mushrooms, berries or other plants. Never assume a plant is non-toxic because birds or wildlife eat it.
For more information on summertime safety, please visit IPC Summer Safety.
IPC experts are available to provide information and treatment advice 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, including holidays. If you suspect that you or someone you know has been exposed to a potentially harmful substance, please call the IPC at 1-800-222-1222. For more information, visit the IPC’s website: http://illinoispoisoncenter.org.