5 Most Common Household Poisons & What You Can Do To Prevent Them

There is one poison exposure incident reported in the US every 15 seconds which translates to over 2 million cases every year, according to a study by the American Association of Poison Control. That number does include the around 56,000 animal poisoning incidents in the same time frame. This number is huge, but it is not really surprising. Majority of homes contain daily-use products that pose a toxic threat to both humans and animals. When these things are not properly stored, accidental poisoning is bound to happen.

Here is a list of 5 most common household poisons and what you can do to prevent them from hurting you and your loved ones. Do not that there are many other usual everday products that can pose a danger to both human and animal health. So if you do suspect poisoning, it’s always best to call emergency services right away.

  1. Cleaning products

Most cleaning materials contain a range of chemicals that can be accidentally ingested by a curious pet or toddler. Two of the most common ingredients are hydrochloric acid (usually from tub and tile cleaners) and sodium hydroxide (also called lye, usually from oven and drain cleaners). Because they are almost always used, people tend to leave them exposed to make them quicker to access. However, you should know that even inhaling these products can lead to poisoning.

Symptoms of chemical poisoning can vary depending on the type of product. Toilet bowl cleaners, for example, can cause severe abdominal pain, burns in the esophageal lining, and blood in the stool. Drain or oven cleaner poisoning can manifest through difficulty breathing, mouth burns, excessive drooling, and eventually collapse. In the event of accidental ingestion, have the person drink either milk or water immediately, then seek medical help at once.

To prevent these from happening, keep all cleaning products stored in places that cannot be accessed by both kids and pets. If you must store at a low level, you should install kid safety locks or a similar device to doors so they don’t easily get opened. For added safety, you can opt to switch to less toxic products; but, really, it’s all about proper storage. It’s better to spend a little time opening cabinets to get these cleaning products than have to deal with a poisoning issue that threatens life.

  1. Medicines

Statistics show that over 80 percent of deaths related to drug poisoning are accidental, with almost 50 percent caused by an overdose of prescription drugs. The most commonly reported medication poisoning incidents involve oxycodone and hydrocodone, usually found in pain meds. Over-the-counter medications like NSAIDS, too, can be potentially fatal to those who don’t need it. These include the likes of aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen.

Painkiller overdose symptoms range from mood swings, nausea, and confusion to breathing difficulties that can lead to death. Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain. If ingested in large doses, NSAIDs can also caused damage in the kidney and result in seizures and coma. If you suspect medical poisoning, call 911 right away. Try to find out when the drug was ingested and how much was consumed to report to the medical personnel.

To prevent medicine poisoning, follow the instruction to “keep medication away from children and pets at all times.” Better yet, install locks on medicine cabinets so nobody gets access to the drugs without you knowing about it. Always keep pills in the original containers or label them properly and visibly, so no accidents happen. More importantly, if a drug is not prescribed to you, don’t take it. Always get a consult from a doctor first before allowing yourself and a family member to take any medicines.

  1. Insecticides

Insecticides are meant to get rid of common household pests, which means they are toxic to humans. Poisoning can happen by way of inhalation, swallowing, or skin absorption and two of the most commonly reported poisons are organophosphates and carbamates, found in many sprays. To spot a possible insecticide poisoning, watch out for excessive salivation, blurred vision, vomiting, and even seizures. If ingested in large doses, these chemicals can led to an overstimulation in the organs and eventual failure.

If you suspect insecticide poisoning, do not make the person throw up because the chemical will come in contact with your internal organs again. Just seek emergency assistance right away. Medical personnel might use atropine to deal with serious insecticide incidents. If the product came in contact with the skin, immediately wash the affected area and the entire body.

To prevent this, try to use as little insecticide as possible, or switch to the organic, natural options. Insecticides that use pyrethrins are said to be safer because they are made from flower products so they are not as potentially fatal to pets and humans in case of ingestion. If you must use the stronger chemical variants, keep these locked and store away from accidental reach. Ensure that nobody is in the room when you apply these products and avoid using them on enclosed spaces as much as possible.

  1. Topical anesthetics

Topical anesthetics are usually safe when used according to package instructions. They contain ingredients that can numb the skin and tissues in cases on insect bites, sunburn, and sore muscles. However, using more than what is needed or accidentally swallowing even just a small amount can result in poisoning.

Poisoning symptos can include drowsiness, difficulty breathing, a slow heartbeat and seizures. One of the most common topical anesthetic, benzocaine, can cause methemoglobinemia, which is a potentially fatal condition where there a dangerously low amount of oxygen in the blood. Symptoms of this issue include rapid heart rate, headache, and a bluish color in the nails or skin. If you suspect poisoning, call 911 immediately or rush to the nearest hospital.

As a preventive measure, always store anesthetics properly and never use more than what is prescribed. Teething gels can be detrimental to children less than 2 years of age so don’t use them on babies. The safer way to relieve teething pains is to just massage the gums to ease pain or use teething rings.

  1. Laundry or dishwashing products

Accidentally swallowing either liquid or granular detergent is dangerous, but laundry pods pose a much bigger risk of poisoning. US Poison Control lists over 62,000 reports related to their issues, mostly affecting kids ages 6 years and younger. Detergent pods, in particular, because of their pretty packaging and pleasant smell, often get mistaken for candy. Statistics show that around 60 percent of laundry poisoning calls are because of these products.

Symptoms of dishwashing and laundry product poisoning include diarrhea and vomiting. If a pod has been ingested, symptoms could cover vomiting, drowsiness, difficulty breathing. As a preventive measure, keep all cleaning agents stored under lock and key and make sure those pods stay where they should be. Better yet, avoid using these candy-looking pods altogether and opt for the liquid or granular versions.

Who Is At Risk?

Poisoning knows no age, so it’s not just about keeping products away from children’s reach. In fact, adults account for almost 40 percent of accidental poisonings. We recommend keeping all potentially hazardous products kept away and used to a minimum. Better yet, have the entire household switch to the organic materials which may be a lot less dangerous (although still possibly fatal if taken in large amounts).

6 Clever Ways To Hide Your Valuables In Plain Sight

When it comes to keeping your valuables safe, sometimes the simple solutions are the best ones. While it is recommended that you get a safe or install a home security system to safeguard your home and keep precious items under lock and key, being clever also does the trick. To foil a would-be burglar and keep him or her from accessing your valuables, you can get creative with how you store them.

In short, keep them in too common places where they probably won’t even bother to look. You can make use of everyday items to conceal jewelry, money, keys, and other valuable items. When it comes to foiling thieves, hiding things in plain sight can also work. Here are 6 amazing ways you can pull one over the burglar and ensure that your stuff is protected and out of sight.

  1. Stuff them in a towel

This is probably a common practice in your family, especially when you go to the pool or the beach. While this is not the best way to keep the thieves at bay, it is less conspicuous and obvious as putting your valuables in a separate pouch in your bag. You can do the same in the cabinet and choose a towel amongst many in the pile to hide your jewelry or cash.

Burglars often come to a home looking for valuables in drawers or go searching for pouches or jewelry boxes. They likely won’t be looking into towels, unless they have plenty of time to ransack your place (which they often don’t). In a rush, they might try to rummage through your underwear closet, which is one of the most common places where valuables are hidden, and will not have the time or smarts to go through your towels.

  1. Reuse empty containers and bottles

Whether it’s a spice jar or a shampoo bottle, burglars will not have these everyday items a priority when they loot your home. You can either clean the bottles out thoroughly before using them as a keeper of valuables, or wrap your stuff in ziploc before putting them in as protection.

When reusing a condiment jar, what you can do is paint the inside with glue and add herbs or spices again to coat it and give it a “full” appearance. Then you can put your items in ziploc or a plastic bag and put them inside. You can then display the spice jar back in the cupboard and nobody will even bother to look. Alternatively, you can purchase those pre-made trick jars that use the likes of sunscreen bottles, sauce jars, and other common food containers as storage.

  1. Feminine hygiene products

Some guys even refuse to buy feminine products for their girlfriends and wives at the store, so hiding your valuables inside tampon or feminine pad boxes is a great example of hiding in plain sight. Just make sure that the box also contains actual products, at least at the top, so you can safely tuck your jewelry and money inside. If you’re traveling, you can use an empty tampon applicator in a wrapper to hold cash. This helps ensure that those sticky fingers by pickpockets will just graze through them and don’t even bother to open.

  1. Not the trunk and glove box

When you need to store valuables in the car, you have to think out of the box and go beyond the usual glove compartment and trunk. Before you reach your destination or even start traveling, make sure that you have already carefully stashed your stuff. You don’t want people to see you stuffing your gadgets, right?

Also, if you’re carrying small items, you can opt to place them inside a drink cup or an empty soda can. You can actually buy these trick items, which are designed to outsmart the bad guys. Another good location to store items in the car is to place them under the floor mat or between the seat cushions. Here’s a tip: get two identical mats and glue them together while leaving a slot where you can slip items inside.

  1. Sports items

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If you’re outdoors, hiding your valuables inside your bag makes you more prone to thieving. However, if you stuff your money inside say, a tennis ball, nobody would bother to give it a look. Just make a slice in the ball to turn it into a secret storage place for your keys, cash, watch and other small items. It works the same as those plastic coin purses that open up to a hollow space when you squeeze it. The ball will then pop back to its original look and look like a simple ball again to mix with the rest of your stuff. At home, you can do this in that place where you keep your sports equipment. Surely nobody would take the time to sift through extra balls.

  1. Wear them, instead

It’s best to always keep your valuables in your person, especially when you’re out and travelling. So the age-old trick of hiding stuff inside your bra does still work. Keeping them in your pockets is all too common and pickpocketers will definitely prioritize those when they target you. You can also attach a small pouch under your clothes or wear it around your neck or waist like a belt. There are also those nifty spy-like jackets and clothing that are made with secret pockets and other security features to help keep your valuables out of sight.

Of course, more than being smarter than the thief, it’s still safest to install a home security system to prevent these situations from happening in the first place. But just to make sure, when it comes to hiding valuables in plain sight, the trick is to not to overthink. Even the simplest and most common household items can be used as alternative storage. This way, in case a burglar does succeed in getting inside the house, he or she will definitely go out empty-handed.

7 Home Safety Tips For People Who Live Alone

Living alone nowadays seems to be the norm among the younger generation and the numbers are reportedly at their highest now than any other time in history. Recent statistics show that 40 percent of all households in major cities in the US have just one occupant. In highly urbanized cities like Washington and Manhattan, a whopping 50 percent of homes are occupied by solo dwellers.

There are many advantages to living alone. Foremost is freedom. You are the master of the house so you get to decide how things go, what decorations will be used, when you need to clean, and more. Included in this list of responsibilities is personal safety and home security.

Because going solo also affords you the freedom to engage in social activities as you wish, it is highly likely that you will be out of the house more often than when you are in it. Or, if you’re a certified homebody, you likely won’t have anyone around on a daily basis to keep you company in case an emergency occurs. According to recent incident reports, a whopping 49.7 percent of house break-ins usually happen to single occupants.

Here are 7 helpful tips for a solo homeowner or renter to stay safe or keep the house protected when you’re not around.

  1. Know your neighbors

In the age of technology, solo dwellers usually don’t become too familiar with the people who live in the place next door. However, getting to know the people you should a building or a community with helps in ensuring a safe environment not just for you but for the rest of the area, as well.

By being familiar with the people you live with, you can instantly spot the not. That is, point out people who seem to be just lurking around and identifying vehicles that do not belong. If you’re friendlier to your neighbors, you can help each other by keeping an eye out for suspicious activity in each other’s places or in common spaces. You don’t have to be besties with your neighbor if you not the type, but a simple ‘hello’ everytime you pass each other plays a huge role in keeping your little community safe.

  1. Get yourself a dog

Not only will a dog keep you company when you’re by your lonesome, it will also alert you to a stranger lurking in the yard. A pet will also guard your home when you’re not around, thus discouraging would-be burglars from even attempting to enter your space. In your search for man’s best friend, consider your living space and daily routine.

If you have allergies, make sure to get a dog that does not shed. Also take note of a breed’s activity level and size. A good breed to serve as guard would be boxers, great danes, or german shepherds. If these are too big for your home, especially if you’re living in an apartment, you can get the smaller breeds with big barks.

  1. Use smart locks

Hiding a key under the welcome mat, above the door, or the flower pot are all too common. By installing smart locks, you don’t need to worry about misplacing your house keys again. Smart locks are safer than keys because they will likely require your fingerprint or a special numerical code to open. Some other models come with remote controls that let you check if you remembered to lock the door. If you did forget to do so, you can easily tap some buttons on an app to lock it, even if you’re already at the garage or, with the fancier ones, at work.

  1. Install a security camera

Security cams are your second set of eyes when it comes to looking out for your home. They help you check what’s happening in your house even when you’re away. Some features even let you control the direction the camera is pointing and show you a video in real-time even from thousands of miles away. Aside from inside your home, placing a security cam at your front door also helps you see if somebody came by to call on you or if somebody had been lurking around.

  1. Install motion detection lights

Place the burglar under the spotlight and you’ll spook him from ever attempting anything on your home. Motion sensors offer additional safety and serve as an effective deterrent. They also shine light on any attempts to burgle your home before it even gets started. For optimal results, motion detection lights should be positioned near entryways or any space outside your home where a burglar can hide or try to break in.

  1. Consider getting a personal alarm

There are alarm systems and apps that offer additional security whether you’re out on a run by your lonesome or just watching TV at home. These discreet alarms fit nicely in your jewelry or clothing so you can call for help when you need it. Like the regular home alarms, personal devices set off a loud sound when activated, thus calling attention to yourself and forcing assailants to step back. This type of gadget helps ensure that you are protected wherever you go.

  1. Take advantage of backup

Even if you’re always home alone, it helps to keep your friends and family in the loop as to your whereabouts and activities. Keep close friends in on your regular routine and let someone else if there’s a sudden change in this schedule. Set-up regular meet-ups with friends who also live solo so that you guys notice if someone does not show up or goes MIA. If you’re having something fixed in your home and need to open it up to strangers, invite a friend to come hang out for added safety.

There are plenty of good reasons for living alone and, sometimes, it’s better that way. But when it comes to your safety and security, you simply can’t leave things to chance and luck. There are lots of resources available to help give you peace of mind.

Online Dating Safety: 6 Ways To Prevent A Scam

The Internet is increasingly being a legitimate means of meeting someone for a real-life connection. This also applies in the search for Mr and Ms Right. However, sometimes in our excitement to meet and date somebody we met online, we tend to forego personal safety. Take note that while meeting people on the Internet is fun, it can also be potentially dangerous.

It’s very easy to fall prey to a good feeling, especially when you think you’ve met The One. So when the other party invites you to finally meet face to face, you tend to let your guard down thinking that you “know” the other person already. Some people are lucky and end up with either a love connection or a lasting friendship from an online meetup, but some are not so and end up in deep trouble.

How do you ensure that you are safe without hampering your chances of finally meeting the right person for you? Here are eight way to keep in mind at all times in your search for love on the Internet.

  1. Sign up only on reliable and reputable dating sites

There are literally thousands of websites offering to have the right mix of singles that can potentially be the love of your life. And with that vast statistic comes a huge number of fakes and frauds. There are websites that are created for the sole purpose of duping people, so even if you live in a safe neighborhood you can never really be totally protected.

To be on the safe side, depend only on the larger, more reputable dating sites, such as Tinder, OkCupid, JDate, and more, because these sites have a better system and policy in protecting your private information. Of course, being in a reputable and paid dating site is not a full guarantee of your safety, so you still need to be vigilant.

  1. Ensure that your personal information stays private

Being cyber secure is different from being cyber savvy. A detailed Internet search by potential dates will likely reveal your social media accounts, LinkedIn URL, office location, your home address where you “checked in,” or telephone number listed on an ad.

That said, whenever you enter any personal information online, be sure to check those boxes that say your info will be available to you only unless you purposely share it. On virtual platforms, limit the amount of information you reveal about yourself. Your security settings should be set at their maximum level and never ever allow any app to access and post your location.

  1. Do some sleuthing on your potential date

While you shouldn’t be revealing too much about yourself to the other person on the screen, don’t think twice about taking advantage if he or she isn’t protective of his or her info. Google your date, search for his or her social media profiles or if there’s anything posted online about this person. You’ll be surprised by the stories that can get from the results. Some people have found their dates selling an engagement ring on Ebay a few weeks before the Tinder encounter, or revealing how old they really are.

Also, checking their social media posts will give you a better sense of how they really are in person. Because people are less filtered on these platforms, you might spot some traits that are not exactly to your liking, thus, saving you and the other person from wasted time and effort.

  1. Talk to the other person before the meet-up

While it’s very tempting to just schedule a first date, it would be to your advantage if you talk on the phone first so you get a better feel. This is the perfect time to vet the other party and you can even ask some pretty awkward questions to see if he or she is the right fit for you. You can even ask if they’ve ever been arrested before. While you probably won’t get a 100% truth, the way the other person will react to your bold question will send off signals on whether you should push through with an actual meet-up.

  1. Tell a friend

If after the screening and the phone chat you find that you still like to meet this person, you must let somebody know of your plans to do so. Tell a friend or family member who you’re meeting, where it will happen, and what time you are expected to be home. For added safety, show your friend your date’s photo, contact details, and other pertinent information, just in case.

Create a signal with your friend that includes calling you in the middle of the date to check if you’re all right. If you and your date decide to switch locations, check in by phone. Do this until you are finally safe at home. This seems like a lot of work but it will certainly help guarantee your security. More importantly, if this is your first date, drive yourself home and don’t let the other person know where you live — at least not yet.

  1. Seek the safety of a crowd

The first date is a getting-to-know-you stage and while being by yourselves is a romantic way to start things off, it’s not practical. If you both like to go hiking, try those popular walking spots in your community; just don’t go for those remote locations where there’s nobody else and there’s no way to call for help. Better yet, choose a nice coffee shop or a restaurant that offers just the right mix of public and quiet so you can talk.

Reputable dating sites encourage their users to report people who engage in shady practices. This is not just to protect yourself but also to protect other people from possible danger. You can also block a person who is relentless in pursuing you. If after the first date you feel that a second should happen, you should still practice the same safety measures. In fact, because you are meeting a stranger, invites to your home should not happen until after five or more dates have gone by.

Remember that a person who is out to target you will put his or her best foot forward and it is really up to you to catch those signals. If you suspect anything that’s off or something that’s making you feel uneasy, don’t hesitate to cut the cord. If that person starts harrassing you, contact the site’s client services immediately or file a report with the police.

6 Basic Emergency Procedures Everyone In Your Family Should Know

Anybody can be in an emergency situation and the latter can happen at the most unexpected times. This is why it is important for you and the rest of your family to know the basic procedures to handle some of the most common incidents. Knowledge of first aid and how to administer them can save a life. However, in the US, statistics show that as much as 70 percent of Americans do not know what to do in case something does happen.

Are you and your family ready? Let’s have a look at some of the most common emergency situations and what you can do to address each one immediately. Take note that while these procedures are recommended and necessary, the more important thing you should do before performing any of these is to call 911 first or ask somebody to call an ambulance while you get started. With that established, here are six procedures that everybody should know.

  1. Perform CPR

This is one of the first things that come to mind when it comes to “life-saving skills.” Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a technique that could make a huge difference to a person who is suffering cardiac arrest. It’s better to get training from a licensed emergency services specialist and practice the moves beforehand, so that when the time comes that your skill is needed, you are ready. Even just watching a one-minute video about CPR can already help make you better at thir procedure.

  1. Help someone who is choking

The Heimlich maneuver is the most popular way of relieving a person who cannot breathe due to a blockage in the airway. Some restaurants post illustrations and photos demonstrating how to do this procedure because choking happens while one is excitedly eating. However, not every place has these guides available. This is why you and your family should know what to do.

Note that before performing the Heimlich maneuver, you should first strike five blows to the person’s back using the heel of your hand to dislodge the food or object that’s blocking the air passage. If that doesn’t work, that’s the time you do the signature abdominal thrusts. Choking not only happens to people who are eating. It can also happen in children and infants who are prone to putting random stuff in their mouths. There are different techniques for adults and children, so train your family to do both.

  1. Burn

For minor burns, you can immediately address the problem by running the affected area under cool water for at least 10 minutes. Then, get a moist towel to help further cool the skin. Do not put ice, or anything else on the burnt area and simply cleanse it with mild soap and water. For the pain, the person can take meds to manage it. Just make sure that he or she is not allergic to these drugs, or else you end up with a bigger problem.

Simple burns do not require dressings, as well, and just need to be aired out. Just make sure that open wounds are not contaminated so you don’t escalate the problem. Of course, if it’s a major burn, you must call for medical help right away or rush to the nearest hospital to be treated by a professional.

  1. Bleeding

Bleeding can come in different forms, ranging from a simple scrape to the dangerous arterial type. In any case, the goal is to stop the bleeding ASAP and prevent further loss of blood. To address a bleeding issue, wash your hands and put on gloves (or a clean plastic bag) first to avoid contaminating the area. Elevate the site of the bleeding and remove any obvious debris and dirt from the wound. If there’s a large object embedded, do not touch it and just wait for medical professionals to handle it.

Apply pressure on the bleed site with a bandage or clean cloth for at least 20 minutes. During this period, do not open the cloth to check if it has stopped. Just wait until the time has passed before looking. If the bleeding doesn’t stop and there’s arterial damage, apply pressue on the artery itself and squeeze it against the bone, while ensure that your hand continous to apply pressure on the wound itself.

  1. Heart attack

Because a heart attack is life-threatening, knowing how to spot signs of an impending attack and how to deal with it when it does happen is crucial. Signs includes dizziness, pain in the neck, shoulder or arm, chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea/vomiting, among others. When you spot someone with these telltale signs, immediately call 911 or have someone do so. You can offer aspirin if available because it can help reduce the damage, then perform CPR when the person loses consciousness. Do this until emergency service arrive and takes over.

  1. Carrying someone bigger than you

There might be times when there’s another person hurt and only you can help bring him or her to safety. If that person if heavier than you or you are not that strong, you can still lift him or her without hurting yourself while doing it. What you can do is take the person’s arm and pull it over your shoulder. Then while crouching down or kneeling, have his or her middle part rest on your shoulder to hang. Thrust upwards using your hips and legs. Do not lean forward as this can cause injury on your back. You can practice this technique with children or small people first, just so you get the hang of it.

Hopefully, you or your family will not be in a situation that requires knowledge of emergency procedures. However, arming your loved ones with these skills makes you better prepared to handle them when they do happen. In addition, practicing these procedures as a family or a team can help bring you closer together because it’s a wonderful way to bond.