National Poison Prevention Week (March)
How Can You Prevent Unintentional
Poisoning in Your Home?
According to the New Jersey Poison Information and Education
System (NJ PIES), each day, 55 children are exposed to potentially poisonous substances
and a loved one calls the NJ Poison Center for help. Last year almost 20,000
children under the age of five (5) required assistance from the NJ Poison
Experts because they were exposed to potentially dangerous items such as
household chemicals, medicines and vitamins, cigars/cigarettes, liquid nicotine
in e-cigarette devices and hookah pipes, coins, magnets, and batteries. While
most of the cases were managed at home without a visit to the hospital, many
did require admission to an intensive care unit and some required surgery. Some
people think only medicines and chemicals cause life threatening poisoning
situations, however, foreign bodies such as coins, magnets, and batteries
should never be overlooked because they can cause serious injury and even
Don’t forget about the unwanted, unused medications that may
have accumulated in medicine cabinets, closets, and pantries. Take these items
to your town’s medication drop-off locations where they will be discarded
safely. Remind any seniors you may know to do the same. If you would like help
in finding a drop-off location near you, contact the poison center at
In 2014, there were two cases of elevated blood lead levels
among residents in Maplewood. Despite
the use of lead-free paints, residents of older homes, especially those with
young children, may be at risk of lead exposure from lead dust due to improper
paint removal during a renovation or old paint chips, or lead in the soil. The Maplewood Health Department recommends
the use of painters with a US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) lead
Here are some things you can do to prevent unintentional
injury from poisons in the home:
Enter the phone number to NJPIEs, 1-800-222-1222
on your cell phones. Make sure your babysitters, nannies, and other family
caregivers have this number on hand as well.
Stop by the Maplewood Health Department,
throughout the month of March, to pick up a Family Poison Prevention Kit, while
supplies last. Every year, the Maplewood Health Department in partnership with
NJPIES, creates these kits for residents. Each kit includes a measured
medication dispenser and educational materials and magnets/ stickers with the
NJPIEs phone number.
The Millburn Police Department at 435 Essex
Street has a Medication Drop Off location onsite where you can drop off old and
Before a home renovation, particularly for homes
built before 1978, go to the US EPA-managed list of certified renovation and
lead dust sampling technicians who are trained to mitigate lead exposure and
protect human health from lead during a renovation: http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_firm.htm
Expired and unwanted medications should be
disposed of safely. Follow these guidelines and share the information with
others: NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Guidelines for Proper
Disposal of Household Medications: http://www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/rrtp/disposal.pdf
Who is at Risk for Accidental Poisoning?
In most cases, poisoning occurs in the home, is acute (i.e., develops suddenly) and unintentional (accidental), and involves children under the age of 6. Personal care products (e.g., cosmetics, creams, lotions, mouthwash), household cleaning products and chemicals (e.g., pesticides), and over-the-counter or prescription medications (e.g., pain relievers, cough and cold medicines, vitamins) are common causes for acute childhood poisoning.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, approximately 1.5 million cases of poisoning occur in children and adolescents under the age of 20 each year in the United States. More than 50% of all poisonings occur in children under the age of 6 years. Peak incidence of childhood poisoning occurs between 1 and 3 years of age. Contact the Maplewood Health Department for a Babysitter/ Household Poison Prevention Kit at (973) 762-8120.
Although children younger than 6 accounted for about half of all the poison exposure calls to a poison center in 2010, adults accounted for 92 percent of all poison-related deaths reported to poison control centers.
How to Dispose of Unwanted Medications Safely at Home
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has created two resources on how to safely dispose of prescription drugs at home and prevent unwanted exposure to children and other family members:
NJDEP Safe Syringe Disposal Guide for Home Generated Medical Waste (http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/phss/syringe.pdf)
Local Safe Medication Disposal Sites
In collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT) Essex Coalition, and the township Municipal Alliance, the Maplewood Police Department will coordinate a one –day prescription drug drop off event at the Maplewood Police Station on Springfield Ave. on April 26th from 10 am- 2 pm. As part of the American Medicine Chest Challenge Millburn Police Department is providing a permanent prescription drug drop off location to dispose of their expired or unused prescriptions safely throughout the year.
Poison Control Hotline Numbers
The Poison Control Center hotline is: 1-800-222-1222. Share this number with your babysitters and other family members and have it on speed dial or close to a telephone.
The NJ Poison Information and Education System (NJ PIES) in Newark can be reached at: (973) 972-9280.
Public Health and Immunization Awareness for All Ages
One of the main responsibilities of the local health department is to conduct immunization audits of the public schools, non-traditional and special needs schools, and the child care and pre-school facilities, annually.
It is evident that Maplewood residents understand the importance of vaccinations, as our compliance rate for the public schools is at 100% and we are currently working toward 100% compliance from all of our child care and pre-school facilities.
As we have seen with the recent multi-state measles outbreak earlier this year, staying up to date on immunizations that protect us from infectious diseases, is paramount. It takes a societal commitment and an understanding that the advantages and benefits of getting vaccinated outweigh the risks of infection and its consequences, especially among our more vulnerable populations: young children, chronically ill individuals and the elderly.
However, we are still lagging behind in two areas of vaccination: HPV vaccination and adult vaccination.
Did you know that there is a vaccine that can prevent cancer? Studies have identified a direct correlation between persistent human papilloma virus (HPV) infection and cancers such as cervical cancer and oropharyngeal cancers.
According to the CDC:
• Approximately 79 million persons in the United States are infected with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Approximately 14 million people in the United States will become newly infected with HPV each year.
While most of these infections will resolve on their own and no further treatment is needed, there is a significant number of people who will get persistent infections of HPV. Furthermore, without regular screening by a healthcare provider, it can develop into cervical cancer.
• Each year, an estimated 26,000 cancers are attributable to HPV; about 17,000 in women and 9,000 in men.
• Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-associated cancer among women, and oropharyngeal cancers are the most common among men.
- The HPV vaccine can be given to both young girls and young boys, by their pediatrician.
The Maplewood Health Department has educational materials and resources available; contact the Nursing Department at (973) 762-8120 x4300. To learn more about the HPV vaccines, go to http://www.cdc.gov/HPV/
Aren’t vaccinations just for children? Most adults do not realize that there are adult vaccinations that can protect them as well, from waning immunity to diseases such as pertussis, pneumonia and shingles. Some of us are at risk, not just because we are getting older but because of our occupational work (exposure to blood or bodily fluids; working with people who are sick or immunocompromised; healthcare providers). Perhaps we are caregivers to a newborn or a sick family member. Others may travel a lot for work or leisure. For others who live in close or confined conditions (college students, military), some vaccinations are highly recommended, such as the meningococcal vaccine.
Here are a list of vaccinations that adults can get. The Maplewood Health Department recommends you talk to your doctor to find out if you are eligible and if your lifestyle would benefit from getting vaccinated:
- Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap)
- Zoster (prevention of shingles)
- Measles mumps and rubella (MMR)
- Pneumococcal (PCV 13) and (PPSV23)
- Meningococcal vaccination
- Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
How effective was the flu vaccine this year?
While we are on the topic, let’s talk about this year’s flu vaccine. Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) makes an educated guess as to the influenza (‘flu’) strains that will be prevalent in the upcoming fall/ winter. Between vaccine development at the beginning of the year and distribution, some viral strains may mutate and ‘drift’, causing illness since the predominant strain, is not part of the strains covered in this year’s flu vaccine. A report published in January by the CDC estimates that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced a person’s risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by 23 percent among people of all ages (MMWR, January 16, 2015). However, among the elderly and the very young, the flu vaccine has caused increased hospitalizations, nationwide. While the flu vaccine may still be effective in preventing more severe illness, CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. stated: “We can save lives with a three-pronged effort to fight the flu: vaccination, prompt treatment for people at high risk of complications, and preventive health measures, such as staying home when you’re sick, to reduce flu spread.”
National Immunization Awareness Month (August)
We all need shots (also called vaccinations or immunizations) to help protect us from serious diseases. To help keep our community safe, the Maplewood Health Department is proudly participating in National Immunization Awareness Month.
Shots can prevent serious diseases like the flu, measles, and tuberculosis (TB). It is important to know which shots you need and when to get them.
The Maplewood Health Department will hold its annual Flu Clinic at Town Hall this fall; details forthcoming on the township website: http://www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/ The flu vaccine will be available for Maplewood residents over the age of 18 years.
Everyone age 6 months and older needs to get a flu shot every year. Other shots work best when they are given at certain ages.
Talk to your doctor or nurse to make sure that everyone in your family gets the shots they need.
February is Heart Healthy Month and the Health Department Encourages You to Take Good Care of Yourselves.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States and is a major cause of disability. Almost 700,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. each year. To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, Maplewood Health Department is proudly participating in American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death. In New Jersey, 18,000 residents die from heart disease each year. But many times it is preventable.
You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:
- Watch your weight.
- Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get active and eat healthy.
Need help staying on track? The Maplewood Health Department offers free Adult Health Clinics three times a month. A public health nurse provides blood pressure readings, provides resources in the community to help with lifestyle and health follow up, diet and weight management, and preventive screenings consultation. Call the Maplewood Health Department at (973) 762-8120 x4300 to schedule an appointment.
Another thing you can do is to KNOW the Warning Signs:
- Chest discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, weakness, nausea/ vomiting, lightheadedness and back or jaw pain.
- Calling 9-1-1 is the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.
It is important to know that heart disease affects men AND women. On average, about 31 women die from heart disease and stroke in New Jersey each day. For more information, go to: American Heart Association's Women and Heart Disease: New Jersey Fact Sheet For information about how to prevent heart disease in women go to: Go Red For Women website
For more information call the New Jersey Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program (NJHDSP) at 609-984-6137 or the American Heart Association at 1-888-MY-HEART.