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Poison Prevention Week

March 25, 2011

This is National Poison Prevention Week.   The Vermont Department of Health has a great prevention/information page that has links to all sorts of prevention tips.  This one is really worth repeating here:

The Poison Hotline number is


When we are on the farm, we know that pesticides and cleaning chemicals need to be stored properly and out of the reach of kids.  We also know to keep household cleaners out the reach of little people and pets.  But do you think about helping your own parents or grandparents clean out old medications from the medicine chest?

I don’t know  what other families experience, but it was not unusual to go to Nana’s and in the medicine cabinet see  bottles of who knows what, miss labeled or in a bottle with an unreadable, washed out label on the top shelf in the downstairs bathroom.  The medications were kept in the downstairs lav because this way she didn’t have to go up and down the stairs.  It also make easy access for anyone who came to the house, invited or not.

She would stockpile because she was of the generation that never threw anything out, because you never knew when you needed it.  And Nana lived to 102, so she didn’t really need that much to begin with.  But she had stuff in there that looked like it could have been on the Normandy Invasion.  There were medical relics from a bye gone era.   Expiration dates where to her, simple  suggestions that you could add a decade or more too.  And her eye sight was so bad that she couldn’t read the labels half the time anyhow.   Or tell the difference between cleaner and cheese,  finding one in the fridge instead of under the sink and vise versa.

We respected her independence and her right to have her own home, so we didn’t take the initiative to help her weed out the medicine cabinet.  Or help her sort her groceries  We should have though, because there were times where we wondered if she got a bit mixed up and maybe took Pepto when she ment to take flax seed oil.   And towards the end, at 101 when living alone was no longer and option for her, we did make changes.

This Saturday, March 26th Kinney Drugs is collecting non-controlled prescription and over the counter drugs.   Flushing your old medications or throwing them away creates a whole new problem with medications leaching into our water system.  For prescriptions, the best way to dispose is to surrender them.   In Vermont, some police stations are equipped to take prescription medications and some are not. The best thing to do is to call ahead.  The DEA is sponsoring a drug disposal day on April 3oth.  To find out the nearest site to you call 800-882-9539 or go to the DEA website.

In any case,  we all have Nanas and we can love them by cleaning out the medicine cabinet and disposing of expired and un-needed medications and check to see the cheese is under the sink or in the fridge.

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