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Poison Myths

May 08, 2023


Myth: Poison ivy is contagious.
Truth: Poison ivy is not contagious. Touching the rash or blisters cannot spread poison ivy from one person to another. You can get poison ivy if you touch oil from the leaves of the poison ivy plant, which could be on an infected person’s skin or clothes.

Myth: If you scratch poison ivy or poison oak blisters, you can spread the rash.
Truth: Scratching will not spread the rash. However, fingernails can carry bacteria and scratching blisters can cause an infection.

Myth: Dead poison ivy and poison oak are no longer toxic.
Truth: Urushiol, which is the oil on the plants, can stay active for up to 5 years.

Myth: Poinsettias are poisonous.
Truth: Although not meant for eating, these holiday plants are not poisonous. Eating them can irritate the stomach or skin.

Myth: Foods and plants that are safe for humans also are safe for animals.
Truth: Some foods and plants that humans eat are actually harmful to animals.



Cleaning Products

Myth: Putting cleaning products and other dangerous items on a high shelf prevents poisonings.
Truth: Children sometimes learn to climb even before they can walk. Lock up all cleaning products and other poisons.

Myth: If something tastes bad, such as mothballs or detergent, children won't eat it.
Truth: Each year, children do eat poisonous products that don't taste good. Medications: prescribed and over-the-counter

Childproof containers eliminate the risk of accidental poisonings in children.
Truth: No container is completely childproof. Lock up all medication.

Myth: Herbal and natural remedies are safe and do not need to be locked up.
Truth: Herbal medications and natural remedies can be just as dangerous as prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Lock up these items.

Myth: If a child swallows something poisonous, you should try to make them throw up.
Truth: Putting a finger down a child’s throat can cause serious damage to the throat. If a child swallows something poisonous, call the Poison Center for instructions at 1-800-222-1222.

Myth: In case of poisoning, children should be given syrup of ipecac.
Truth: The American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends syrup of ipecac. If a child swallows something poisonous, call the Poison Center for instructions at 1-800-222-1222.



Myth: Coffee can help you sober up if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
Truth: Only time can help you sober up. Drinking coffee or taking a cold shower does not speed up the process.

Myth: You should let hot food cool down before you put it in the refrigerator.
Truth: Cooked food should be refrigerated as soon as possible to prevent the growth of bacteria. Food does not need to be cooled to room temperature before it's placed in the refrigerator.

Myth: Reheating food kills bacteria, making food safe to eat.
Truth: Heat kills some, but not all, bacteria and viruses present in food.

Myth: If squirrels or other small animals are eating mushrooms, they’re safe for humans.
Truth: Just because an animal is eating a mushroom, does not mean it is safe for humans.

Myth: All white mushrooms are safe to eat.
Truth: The most common deadly mushrooms are white

Myth: If you cook poisonous mushrooms, it removes the toxins.
Truth: Cooking, canning, pickling, freezing and drying mushrooms will not remove toxins.

Myth: Police have many documented cases of poisoning from eating Halloween candy.
Truth: There’s only 1 documented case of poisoning from someone eating Halloween candy, and the child’s father was convicted of that crime. It’s still a good idea to eat only candy that’s sealed in its original wrapper.



Myth: Children have to eat paint chips or chew on painted surfaces to get lead poisoning.
Truth: Children can be poisoned by putting their fingers in their mouths after touching surfaces that have lead on them.

Myth: If a house is clean, there’s no risk of lead poisoning.
Truth: Lead dust cannot be completely removed through household cleaning.

Myth: Only children who live in the inner city get lead poisoning.
Truth: Lead paint can be present in any home built before 1978, no matter what area of the city the house is located in.

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