From Dr. Mercola:
As physicians become more reliant on prescribing medications to treat illness instead of advocating preventive measures, more of our children are suffering from accidental medication poisonings.
The number of people taking prescription medications has risen to an alarming 60 percent. With this increased exposure comes a rise in the number of accidental medication poisonings in children.
At least 60,000 children are poisoned each year by prescription medications and are treated in emergency rooms.1 Many of these children require in-patient hospitalization for treatment.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers report receiving a phone call about potential accidental poisoning once every 15 seconds, half of which are attributed to medications.2
Although these numbers are high, they don’t tell the whole story. Non-profit organization Safe Kids Worldwide estimates that children get the wrong medication or the wrong dose over 500,000 times each year.3
Illness and disease prevention relies on good nutrition, adequate exercise and smart lifestyle choices, such as lower exposure to environmental toxins, quitting smoking or reducing alcohol consumption. There are specific instances when medications are necessary and lifesaving.
Unfortunately, many times physicians and patients have grown used to taking prescription and over-the-counter medications as a matter of course.
Media advertising often promotes the use of medications as necessary, when in fact there may be alternative approaches that carry less side effects for you and your children.
Symptoms of Accidental Medicine Poisoning
If you suspect your child has taken a prescription or over-the-counter medication, call the American Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.
If you are unsure what medication your child may have taken, call 911 or the emergency number in your area for transportation to the nearest medical facility.
Although your child may appear fine in the initial minutes, this can change rapidly. You want to start treatment as soon as possible to reduce the risk of permanent damage or potential death. Unfortunately, symptoms of a medication overdose may not be specific. These symptoms can include:
Nausea and Vomiting Diarrhea Low Blood Pressure Low Heart Rate Seizure Agitation Coma Abdominal Cramp Sleepiness Loss of Balance Confusion
In 2014, 85 percent of the poison exposures, including all substances, reported to the U.S. Poison Control Centers were non-toxic, minimally toxic or had only a minor health effect.4
However, without knowledge of the substance your child ingested or knowledge of the effect it could have, it is essential that you call the Poison Control Centers or your local emergency number.
Why Children Are at Greater Risk
Children under the age of 6 are at greater risk for accidental exposure to medications than older children. Peak accidental poisoning frequency happens between the ages of 1 and 2, while medication poisonings in the teen years are often intentional or the result of an unintended overdose.5
Younger children put everything and anything that reaches their hands into their mouths. It is a way for them to explore their environment.
In an effective and visual display