Fall 2008 Newsletter (PDF - 1.99 MB)
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Kids are back in school. Cold-and-flu season is here. Holidays are just around the corner. Here are some tips to help you prevent poisonings this time of year:
More Fall Poison Prevention Tips, or call your Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222
The latest update
to Poison Help's new Web site, PoisonHelp.hrsa.gov, is now online. The
updated Web site features the most recent quarterly newsletters, new spotlight
articles and fun downloads.
On May 22, 2008, Dr. Elizabeth Duke, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator, made a special visit to the Washington Poison Center while attending a conference in Washington State. The Washington Poison Center receives HRSA Poison Control Program (PCP) grant funding to support efforts of Poison Control Centers (PCCs) to stabilize their funding structure and improve or increase accessibility to poison prevention and control programs and services.
Through a cooperative agreement with HRSA, the Home Safety Council developed low literacy poison prevention materials for literacy providers to use in their training programs. The Poison Prevention Literacy Kit contains the following:
These materials will be available on the Home Safety Council Web site and distributed through their expert network.
among teenagers (13-18 years of age) have been on the rise in recent years.
In 2000, of all age groups, teenagers had the highest rate of nonfatal
hospitalized poisonings. Although the number of teenage nonfatal poisoning
hospitalizations was surpassed by adults (19 years of age or older) in
2004, teen nonfatal poisoning hospitalizations still accounted for over
26,000 incidents that year. These poisonings appear to peak with 16 year
olds, but remain high until age 18. More than 75 percent of teen nonfatal
hospitalizations for poisonings are self-inflicted injuries, and females
make up over 70 percent of all teenage nonfatal poisoning hospitalizations.
The most common substance found in teen nonfatal self-inflicted hospitalized
poisonings is acetaminophen at 28 percent, followed by antidepressants
at 14 percent. Acetaminophen is also the most common substance found in
nonfatal unintentional hospitalized poisonings, followed by ethanol and
The Johnson &
Johnson/UCLA Health Care Executive Program is a management development
program exclusively for executive directors and leaders of community-based
health care organizations. Eligibility is limited to those organizations
that are currently funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration
(HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
events (ALTEs) are relatively common occurrences in infants and children
for which there may be a number of causes. Results of the study, "Accidental
and Nonaccidental Poisonings as a Cause of Apparent Life-Threatening Events
in Infants," show that a significant number of infants under age
2 brought to the emergency department with an ALTE also had a positive
toxicology screen report, and had been given an over-the-counter (OTC)
cold medication. Of 274 toxicology screen results, 50 were positive and
23 were considered clinically significant. Thirteen toxicology results
tested positive for an OTC medication, but no parents admitted to giving
their children medicine. These medications are not recommended for young
children, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration dosing guidelines do not
exist for children under age 2. There is a real concern that giving OTC
cold medications to very young infants can cause them to stop breathing.
The authors suspect that infants are given OTCs inadvertently, through
breastfeeding, or purposely, in order to treat cough and cold symptoms.
Because of these findings, toxicology screens should be part of the routine
evaluation for children with an apparent life-threatening event. The full
article is available in the August issue of Pediatrics.
HRSA's Poison Center Technical Assistance Resource Center (PC TARC) has been working with the Poison Control Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA (PCC-CHOP) to support information technology (IT) development within their center. PCC-CHOP is required by their host institution to use Crystal Reports software, a business intelligence application used to design and generate reports from a wide range of data sources. At the time of the request, PCC-CHOP's business manager had only completed a basic course in the use of Crystal Reports and was in need of additional assistance that was not available via the host institution.
PC TARC contracted with an outside consultant to provide 4 days of one-on-one, on-site Crystal Reports (v.11) training. More specifically, this training included (1) creating parameters, (2) formulas, (3) scheduled reports, (4) report distribution lists, while also assisting in working with (5) cross tabs, (6) report designs for exporting documents into Microsoft applications, (7) charts, and (8) Web-based reports. To date, anecdotal reports from the PCC-CHOP have been promising and the Center appears to benefit from the training.
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) held its annual conference from July 20-23, 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee. The meeting included a dedicated session on poisoning issues in older adults. This session, "Poisoning - A public health issue throughout the lifespan", provided participants with an understanding of recent poisoning trends in the older adult population, an overview of a pilot medication safety curriculum for the senior center setting, and services provided by poison centers. Speakers were:
The Home Safety Council's
(HSC) new online resource at MySafeHome.org
now contains an innovative and interactive virtual home which lets users
explore and understand where dangers lurk in their own homes. Using digital
motion graphics animation, MySafeHome.org illustrates major risk areas
inside and outside of the home, safety devices that every safe home should
have, injury prevention tips for every age group including people with
special needs, and disaster preparedness tips to keep families safe all
The HRSA Poison Control Program has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collaborate on a project with Hollywood Health & Society (HH&S). HH&S is a project at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center that provides entertainment industry professionals with accurate and timely information for health storylines. The collaboration will facilitate opportunities to provide accurate and timely poisoning and poisoning prevention information to screen writers in the television industry in order to encourage the development of accurate storylines for television shows.
On June 24 and 25, 2008, the National Safety Council (NSC) hosted an Off-the-Job Symposium in Denver, Colorado for their member employer organizations for the purpose of providing safety information and injury prevention education. NSC has more than 50,000 members, employing more than 8 million people, and 41 local chapters in the United States. Lori Roche, Director of the HRSA Poison Control Program, along with Dr. Len Paulozzi of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Javier Waksman, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, spoke on a panel, titled "Prescription Painkillers and the American Workforce." Dr. Paulozzi shared CDC data and discussed unintentional poisoning fatality trends due to prescription opiod analgesics. Dr. Waksman shared information on the causes of the accidental prescription deaths including the behavior and prescriber factors, and Ms. Roche shared information about the types of data that poison centers collect, highlighting the therapeutic errors data, and provided information about the resources offered by poison centers.