Chemical poisoning might sound very rare and complex to occur normally, but it is actually quite common in children and the elderly in particular- most of the household products, medicines, cleaners we use daily have chemicals in them, and due to their physical frailty, kids and the aged are more vulnerable to injury or illness by chemical poisoning. Substances like carbon monoxide and lead are common in cleaning liquids and yet other chemicals release fumes and odors which can cause slow chemical poisoning when inhaled frequently. An elderly person is more susceptible to these dangers but there are a few checks to prevent chemical poisoning.
With age, one tends to get a little confused about different things, and it’s possible for the same to happen in the case of medication. To avoid the risk of getting muddled and taking the wrong medicine, or consuming it the wrong way, one can keep notes about each medicine and when and how it should be taken. Caregivers should keep track of the same.
Protection against fumes
An elderly person should try to find alternatives to harsh chemicals which give out possibly poisonous fumes, but in case that is not possible, it is prudent to take measures such as using thick, anti-absorbent cleaning rags and brushes, protective face and body gear, and opening all the windows around to let the gases out. The caregiver needs to be careful in such cases.
Study and research
If you’re taking care of the elderly on a regular basis, or are doing it professionally you might consider reading up on what kinds of chemicals to avoid or to be careful around. There are several courses from simple first aid to basic toxicology which you can pursue. In fact, toxicology makes a sound career and combining it with anti-hazard precautionary care for the elderly is a novel idea. How much does a toxicologist make? A good amount, that’s for sure, and it’s a great way to learn about chemicals, chemical poisoning, and how to prevent it.
Emergency phone line
This is important for everyone, including the aged and their caregivers. Always keep a poison/hazard helpline number at hand, amongst the regularly important numbers such as those of the police, ambulance, fire department, etc. Chemical poisoning is a terrible danger for the elderly, and being prepared this way is best.
Store chemicals in original containers
Many households have a tendency to store different products and materials in containers of different categories, such as laundry detergent in a soda bottle, for example. That is not a good idea, as the aged person might mistake it for something else and spill the chemical, which could result in injury. So be careful not to interchange containers with chemicals in them, and label everything clearly to avoid any confusion.
As you may have observed, the little factors play a huge role in preventing terrible events like chemical poisoning. One must be alert, careful and pro-active when it comes to protecting particularly the aged from such dangers.
Author’s bio: Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organizations. Email: maggiehamm