Kids are back in school. Cold and flu season is here. Holidays are just around the corner – be mindful of food safety concerns surrounding your family. Here are some other tips to help you prevent poisoning during this busy time of year.


  • Keep medicines, vitamins, diet supplements, and household products in the containers they came in (i.e., tight, child-proof lids). Keep them locked up where children cannot see or reach them, particularly those medicines that taste, smell, or look like candy or drinks. Do this at home and when traveling.
  • Tell your doctor about all medicines you are taking and be careful when taking multiple prescriptions. Be sure you are not using two or more products that contain the same drug. It’s common to overdose on the drug acetaminophen, so be extra careful.
  • Read and follow directions and warnings on all labels before taking medicine. If you have questions about how to use your medicine, call your doctor or pharmacist or call the Poison Help Hotline (1-800-222-1222.) if you have a question after hours.
  • Talk to your doctor before taking any food supplements (such as vitamins, minerals or herbs).
  • Never take medicine in the dark.
  • Never take a prescription drug that was not prescribed for you.  Take all medications (prescription, over-the-counter, hetbal/dietary) responsibly.


  • Only experts can tell poisonous mushrooms from safe mushrooms. Eating even a few bites of certain mushrooms can cause liver damage that can kill you.
  • Poisonous mushrooms, called “death caps,” often grow in yards and parks.


  • Berries may attract children. Some berries that can harm people do not harm birds and other animals.
  • If you think someone ate berries from a plant, call the Poison Help Hotline (1-800-222-1222.) right away. Poison Control Center experts probably will not be able to identify the plant on the phone. A greenhouse or plant nursery can help identify your plants, so learn the names of the plants around your home just in case.  

Back to school and art supplies

  • Children often use art products (e.g., glue, paint, ink) at home, school and day care. These art products are mixtures of chemicals. They can be dangerous if not used correctly or stored properly. Make sure children use art products safely by reading labels carefully, following the directions for safe use and disposal, and cleaning up tables, desks, and counters appropriately.
  • Young children are likely to put pretty, colorful art products in their mouths. Additionally, if a product is splashed into the eyes or spilled onto skin, call the Poison Help Hotline (1-800-222-1222.) right away.
  • Do not eat or drink while using art products.

Carbon monoxide (CO)

  • Fall is usually the time we turn on heaters and generators. Make sure your heating system is running smoothly and the carbon monoxide detector has fresh batteries.
  • For more information on CO, refer to winter tips.

Source: HRSA Poison Help website