GEORGE TOWN, 11 June 2019:
Over 90% of poisoning cases between 2006 and 2015 occurred at home, with half of the cases involving children.
This is what National Poison Centre statistics have shown, said the centre’s pharmacist (drug and poison information unit) Asdariah Misnan.
Of these, 66% of cases recorded during the 10 year period comprised accidental poisoning involving household chemical products (33%) and medicines (33%).
Among the accidental cases, 46% involved children aged one to nine.
The household chemicals include laundry detergent and bleach, as well as dishwashing liquid, she said in an interview at the centre at Universiti Sains Malaysia recently.
With 50% of all cases involving children, she said the centre is receiving calls about such poisoning cases on a daily basis.
In reference to the total number of calls which the centre receives daily, she said there are normally between 10 and 20 calls in the day, and about 10 calls at night
Normally, cases involve household chemicals which are not stored in safe places away from the reach of children.
She said it was common to hear an adult storing a chemical in a cup, with the intention of using it soon after – but then a child comes across it and consumes it, thinking it is a drink.
Calling on adults to be careful when handling household chemicals, Asdariah recounted an incident last month in which a family member had stored dishwashing liquid in a little drink bottle – which found its way to the fridge and was later consumed by someone else in the family.
Asdariah also urged parents to be extra vigilant with youngsters who love to experiment at home.
She recalled an incident in which a 10-year-old boy lost his eyebrows during an explosion from a bottle he had filled with calcium carbide powder and water – when the chemical reacted to the water, creating acetylene gas, and the bottle which the boy had also shaken, exploded.
She advised anyone affected by a poison-related incident to seek immediate treatment at a hospital. The centre can also be contacted for advice.