Household poison mistakes can happen to any parent or any family. In today’s society, everyone is busy, hurried, stressed, and making common household poison mistakes because of it. I am guilty of falling into this trap, luckily within non life-threatening situations. For example, accidentally using Dove liquid bath soap as conditioner, pouring a glass of my (allergy-ridden) daughter’s rice milk for my son (who stared at me like I was out of my mind), using Neosporin instead of Hydrocortisone on a rash… But in the situations below, the rushed behaviors resulted in much worse consequences:
Common Household Poison Mistakes
Funny, those eye drops look like my nail glue
A 29-year-old woman in England woke up and stumbled into her bathroom looking for some eye drops. She squirted liquid from a small dropper bottle into her eyes and immediately knew something was wrong, according to reporting by the Telegraph. Paula Griffin had grabbed highly toxic nail glue that binds to skin in seconds.
“I managed to stop it hitting the center of the eye, and doctors told me later that it saved me from permanent damage,” Griffin told the Telegraph. “It was agonizing. It was burning so much it was my natural instinct to shut my eye.”
Griffin sat through eight hours of having her eye glued shut before a medical team could separate her lids. So far, she has no permanent damage to her vision and a tale to tell.
NOTE: A doctor can separate the eyelids. A panicked attempt to separate them yourself can do a lot of damage.
Wow, that tiki fluid sure looks like apple juice
My mom and I were at Meijer together and saw an end cap display of what we thought was apple juice, but it was located in the gardening and outdoors section. When we finally realized it was not apple juice, we were shocked that it was packaged in a clear bottle; it was almost as if it wanted to confuse people.
New Jersey officials issued a warning last July after six people drank the oil, mistaking the jug-sized container and yellow liquid for apple juice, according to reports by the Associated Press. One elderly woman died last summer, and an 8-year-old child suffered permanent lung damage from consuming the toxic fuel.
Poison control centers at the time did a national survey and found 70 people had been poisoned by the fuel-apple juice lookalike, according to reporting by the Associated Press.
The Star-Ledger reported that the 8-year-old girl who sustained lung damage drank from a glass on a counter that she thought was filled with juice but was filled with oil.
Even the bartenders can’t get it straight
Fran Nichol never even had a chance to cry out after sipping the caustic solution she thought was an apple rum fizzy drink. The middle-aged woman entered a bar with a companion around Christmas 2007, near Dundee, Scotland, and ordered a fizzy apple juice with rum, according to reporting by the Sunday Mail. Somehow, a bottle of pipe cleaning solution with sodium hydroxide (or lye) was stored in the pub’s fridge and mistaken for fizzy apple juice. After just one sip, Nichol collapsed on the floor in pain.
Nichol’s throat and mouth were so badly seared by the sip that she could not swallow or eat, according to the Sunday Mail. Although recovering slowly, she had to be fitted with a feeding tube to survive.
Some chemicals are dyed to purposely look toxic, but in Nichol’s case, the chemical looked like juice.
Maybe sniffing before drinking isn’t always a good idea
A 6 year old was in the basement with a younger cousin, playing. His dad is a land surveyor and had a blue print machine that required ammonia. The cousin was thirsty and desparately wanted to drink the “water”. The six year old’s mom, a nurse, taught him to never drink something without smelling it first. He smelled it and began to scream. His mom carried him outside and told him that the doctor said the only thing to do was breath in fresh air. It burned his nose, but there was no permanent damage.
In case one of these mishaps should happen to you or someone you know, be sure to have the poison control number handy. Poison hotline: 1-800-222-1222.
The number automatically routes you to the nearest poison center. It’s like the 911 of poison center numbers.