Poison Centers Receive Most Calls in the Summer

poison control centers receive increased calls in summer months

The summer months are a great time to reach out and spread awareness of how important it is to be careful with bleach, bug spray, gasoline and picnic foods…things that we are around more often this time of year.

Beware of Bleach

During the warm, moist, humid months of spring and summer, molds and mildews develop more easily and more often, leading many of us to pull out the bleach to get rid of them. As a result, calls about bleach exposure increase during the summer months, according to healthfinder.gov.

Household bleach can become problematic when it gets in the eyes or when it is  swallowed. Also, did you know that bleach should not be combined with any other cleaning products? This can cause dangerous gases to form. Remember also to always keep bleach out of reach of children and beware of the damage it can do.

Bug Bites and Stings

Obviously, along with the warm summer weather comes all kinds of bugs ready to bite and sting. According to poison control centers, calls increase dramatically from those who have been stung or bitten by something concerning.

If you become a victim of a sting or bite, watch closely for signs of an allergic reaction, especially within the first hour.

Many of us use DEET-containing insect repellents, which should be applied sparingly to skin and clothing. According to poison experts, 

Products with concentrations of less than 10 percent DEET are just as effective as those with higher concentrations.

Poisons Lurking Outdoors

Summer means that we all spend more time outdoors, and this exposes ourselves and our children more often to poisons like gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluids and torch fuels. Make sure these are always stored out of reach of children.

Food Poisoning Increase

Another factor that increases in the summer months as people gather for cookouts is the risk of food poisoning, according to poison control experts. There are plenty of things that can be done to avoid this.

Meats should be cooked to 160 degrees to ensure all bacteria are destroyed. Use a food thermometer when possible, rather than judging how done the meat is by looking. Be sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold at all times.

Please program this number into your phone. It will enable you to reach a poison control center from anywhere in the U.S.: 1-800-222-1222.

 To find more information on prevention of poisoning, visit The National Safety Council.




Avoid Slips, Trips and Falls During National Safety Month

Avoid slips, trips and falls during National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month, a time to reflect on your safety and the safety of others at home and in the workplace. Injuries are a leading cause of disability for people of all ages — and they are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44. The good news is everyone can get involved to help prevent injuries.

During National Safety Month, I am working with community members to help reduce the risk of injuries. This June, I encourage you to learn more about important safety issues like prescription painkiller abuse, distracted driving, and slips, trips, and falls.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

One in 3 older adults falls each year. Many falls lead to broken bones and other health problems. According to Healthfinder.gov, there are many things that can be done to reduce the risk of falling.

Small changes can be made to help prevent falls. One in 3 older adults will fall each year. Falling can lead to broken bones, trouble getting around, and other health problems – especially if you are age 65 or older.

Pain and disability are a result of fractures (broken bones), making it difficult to do everyday activities, like cooking, without assistance. Hip fractures are a major cause of health problems and death among older adults.

Tips to Avoid Falling

If you are an older adult, or you know an older adult that could benefit from the following tips, please take note and share them with others. These steps can help to prevent falls:

  • Exercising to improve balance and strength
  • Reviewing your medications with your doctor to find out which ones make you dizzy or sleepy.
  • Getting your vision checked by an eye doctor at least every 1 to 2 years. Updating your glasses or contact lenses when your vision changes.
  • Making your home safer. For example, adding grab bars inside and outside your bathtub or shower.

For even more helpful tips, please visit healthfinder.gov’s page on Lowering Your Risk of Falling. I urge you to make the changes necessary in your home and at your place of employment to make the environment as safe as possible.


Fun in the Sun: Swimming Pool Safety for Children

Keep Children Safe in the Swimming Pool

Updated July 14, 2015

August has arrived and swimming pools, lakes and beaches are getting busier. Water parks are open for fun in the sun all over Texas. During such a hot month, many of us cool ourselves in the hot Texas sun in these places.

While you’re enjoying the water, please keep in mind that an exciting, enjoyable time can turn tragic very quickly. Drownings happen a lot more than we would like to think. Consider these factors:

  • Children between the ages of 1 and 4 have the highest drowning rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Among these children, most drownings occur in swimming pools in homes.
  • Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1 to 4 than any other cause (aside from birth defects).

With this in mind, I wanted to share some very important safety tips that will keep your child safer in, and around, the water.

Drownings happen in many different locations, including above ground pools, inflatable pools, and beaches. Sometimes drownings even occur with lifeguards present.

Time Lapses in Supervision

Time lapses in supervision of children swimming are responsible for most drownings involving children. Adults supervising are either talking to others, reading, eating or talking on their phones while not paying close enough attention to a swimming child. Avoid these distractions as much as you can so you are watching children carefully. These measures can also make the difference between life and death:

  • Fence your pool in with a fence at least 4 feet tall. Make sure children cannot slip through the gaps or climb over easily. Install self closing and self-latching gates with latches that are beyond a child’s reach. Lack of fencing is responsible for 70% of deaths.
  • Whenever infants or toddlers are in the water or around the water, a supervising adult should be in the water, within an arm’s length.
  • Learn CPR, keep a telephone nearby, and keep some sort of floating device near the water.
  • Children should always wear a life jacket when riding in watercraft of any kind. Small children should wear one anytime they are near the water’s edge (on a dock, near a river, etc.).
  • Children should understand the risk of injury involved with diving into water head-first and avoid doing it in shallow areas.
  • Take children to swimming locations that have lifeguards when possible.
  • Avoid becoming impaired by alcohol or illicit drugs while operating a watercraft.

Following these simple safety procedures can ensure that you and your family experience lots of fun in the sun while staying safe.




10 Ways Pedestrians can Stay Safe on Texas Roadways

10 Ways Pedestrians Can Stay Safe

Texas ranks as the 10th most dangerous state for walking commuters, with nearly 4,200 pedestrian deaths between 2003 and 2012. The total number of traffic fatalities has decreased, yet pedestrian accidents are on the increase. In 2012, 15 percent of all traffic fatalities involved a person on foot.

Experts say that southern states are more likely to be dangerous places to walk because of their rapid post-war development, when new roads were built wider to accommodate more cars at higher speeds. The statistics seem to agree.

Driver Actions that Lead to Pedestrian Injuries

There are many different driving actions that contribute to pedestrian accidents. The most common action involves the driver’s failure to yield to a person in the street, which leads to almost half of all pedestrian accidents.

The overwhelming number of injuries involving pedestrians are a result of inattentive drivers (distracted drivers) who are either not watching the roads closely, or who misjudged people in the process of crossing the street.

Turning vehicles tops the list of driver actions that lead to pedestrian accidents and deaths. At intersections with signals, vehicles that are turning account for another large portion of accidents. More accidents occurred with vehicles turning left than those turning right.

Clearly, intersections are the number one hazard for pedestrians walking in congested areas. The use of cell phones and electronic devices largely contributes to these accidents, and these devices should never be used by a driver travelling through such an area. Unfortunately, though, drivers continue to drive distracted. You must protect yourself.

How to Be a Safe Pedestrian

  1. Remember that drivers, especially in the city, may not always yield as you would assume. Be sure to follow traffic signals and pause to make sure drivers see you before you proceed into the street.
  2. Always pay close attention and realize that many drivers, unfortunately, are not paying attention to the road but instead are distracted by electronic devices. Assume they don’t see you.
  3. Always use sidewalks when possible. Most accidents happen when someone is walking in the street.
  4. Be extremely alert when crossing any roadway. Stay on the right-hand side of crosswalks. Drivers are supposed to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  5. If you are not crossing at a marked crosswalk, yield to vehicles on the roadway. If you’re hit while jaywalking, the driver may not be liable and his or her insurance may not cover your injuries.
  6. If a road has no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
  7. Always cross at intersections. Look left, then right, then left again before proceeding.
  8. Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.
  9. As a passenger, get in or out of a car on the curb side of the street.
  10. Make eye contact with drivers before you cross the street.

Be sure to teach your children these safety tips as well, as they account for 40% of pedestrian accidents.

What are some additional safety tips that you use when walking along the roadways? Please share.


article source: txdot.gov



National Dog Bite Prevention Week: How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner

This week, May 16th through the 22nd, the U.S. Postal Service continues its tradition of calling attention to one of the nation’s most commonly reported public health problems: dog attacks and bites.

This visual shows four things that dog owners can do to ensure that we keep our postal workers safe.

Kay Van Wey: Dog Bite Prevention Week

Let’s do our best to be responsible for our dogs around others. What are some additional tips you know of that will help us to be responsible dog owners? Please share so we can all learn more!


Breaking News: Takata Airbag Recall Expanded by Millions

a broken windshield in an accident, a car airbag

Japan’s three largest carmakers announced Wednesday that they are expanding an already huge global automobile recall as a result of deadly airbags made by Takata.

For months, this defective airbag issue has brewed in the auto industry as automakers search for the reason that the airbags can explode violently, seriously injuring and killing passengers by exploding shrapnel throughout the car cabin.

Wednesday’s announcement raises the number of vehicles being recalled to roughly 31 million worldwide since 2008. The Takata recalls top the largest U.S. recall list thus far.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to announce soon “significant new steps” related to accelerating Takata recalls. Many automobile owners are having to wait to have their air bags replaced due to a shortage of parts from the manufacturer.

To learn more about the massive Takata air bag recall, read:

Toyota and Nissan Recall 6.5 Million More Vehicles Over Takata Airbags (NYTimes)

Japan’s three top carmakers to expand Takata air bag recalls by millions (Reuters)

Honda, Daihatsu add 5 million cars to Takata airbag recall (Automotive News)

To find out if your car is included in the recalls, visit safecar.gov.



How to Talk to Teens About Deadly Distracted Driving

Attorney Kay Van Wey helps teen drivers become aware of distracted driving danger.

May is Global Youth Teen Safety Month.

Car accidents have become the number one killer of teenagers today, and the majority of these deaths could have been prevented. One way you can help deter the distracted driving behaviors of your teen is by talking to them about how easy it is to become seriously injured or killed when using a device while driving.

Global Youth Traffic Safety Month runs through May, one of the deadliest months for teen drivers (the other being July). Many proms and graduations happen this month, and many teens will be driving more through the summer months, so this is the perfect time to sit your teen down and potentially save his or her life by talking about distracted driving dangers.

There is a lot of very helpful information out there that can help you have an extremely effective conversation with your teen and distracter driving. Here are a few great resources:

What You Need to Know About Distracted Driving in Texas

Health Tip: Talk to Teens About Distracted Driving

NDDTSEA | Talking to Teens

Commentary: Talk to Your Teens About Distracted Driving

Global Youth Traffic Safety Month® (GYTSM) was formed in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support the United Nations 2007 Global Road Safety Week. It is a month long campaign during May that asks youth organizations to engage in teen traffic safety projects in their communities.

They also offer a toolkit for ideas of projects and youths are challenged to discover unique ways to address teen driver safety. GYTSM is a month-long campaign during May asking youth groups (often chapters of coalition member organizations) to engage in teen traffic safety projects in their communities. They have had great success and many lives have been saved as a result.

If interested, they conduct a Teen Driving Summit, a social media campaign where teens can interact and send safety messages, and contests for teens to create their own service announcements. Their guide is available and is extremely helpful when faced with talking to your teen seriously.

For more information on what you can do to end distracted driving, download our free book, Distracted to Death, instantly. Remember to always set a great example by making sure your phone is put away while you are driving. Kids learn mostly from what we do as well as what we say!


Zofran Dangers Hidden from Pregnant Women

Kay Van Wey helps victims of birth defects caused by Zofran.

Zofran is an anti-nausea drug which has been widely marketed to pregnant women as a morning sickness remedy. Lawsuits are being filed against the manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, alleging that they concealed their knowledge that the drug could cause serious birth defects and marketed the drug to pregnant women without approval from the FDA.

80 percent of women suffer from nausea or vomiting during their pregnancy, often referred to as “morning sickness”. This can become quite severe, so several women turned to Zofran to keep themselves and their babies safe. Instead, the babies suffered from severe birth defects that would have a profound impact on their future.

Birth defects that have been linked to Zofran include:

  • Heart defects (holes in the heart)
  • Cleft lip
  • Cleft palate
  • Club foot
  • Craniosynostosis (skull deformities)

The legal claims brought against Glaxo center around the cause of birth defects and whether the drugmaker is liable for injuries that were suffered by babies whose mothers took the drug. Prior to getting FDA approval, GSK had not conducted any studies on the effects of the drug on pregnant women.

In 1992, GSK began receiving adverse reaction reports of birth defects which were associated with Zofran. However, GSK never disclosed these reports to pregnant women or their physicians. There have also been medical studies which have proven a link between an increased risk of a baby being born with birth defects when the mother has taken Zofran.

Pregnant women would never have taken Zofran if they had known of the danger to their unborn child. However, we wonder if GSK didn’t want women to know because it it would have decreased their profits from the sale of Zofran.

Learn more about dangerous drugs and secrets of the pharmaceutical companies by downloading this free resource: Prescription Drug Safety: 10 Secrets the Pharmaceutical Companies DON’T Want You to Know


Dangerous Opioid Side Effects Lead to Death

Opioid pain killers cause death

Opioid medications have been used for hundreds of years to treat both pain and mental problems. In the last 20 years, however, there has been a 600% increase in opioid prescribing in the United States. Though America accounts for only 4.6% of the world population, we consume 80% of the world’s opioids. This has led to to a huge increase in opioid addiction and deaths from overdosing.

Some believe that this increase in prescribing is due to the belief that medical professionals hold that opioids are safer than other pain medication alternatives. This is simply not the case. Opioids are extremely dangerous and are taking entirely too many innocent lives. Doctors must use better judgement when prescribing them.

Opioid side effects

Though opioids are very helpful in treatment of pain, they have many negative side effects that are often not considered upon prescribing them. Side effects can include:

  • Gastrointestinal – Constipation, nausea and vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Impaired recovery from injury or surgery – Opioids following injury actually delay recovery and increase the risk of permanent damage.
  • Psychological and Physical Side-effects – Opioids taken before and after surgery can affect recovery time and outcome, and can lead to depression.
  • Cognitive impairment – Larger doses of opioids lead to drowsiness, lethargy, reduced spatial memory capacity, impaired performance in working memory, and even death.
  • Respiratory depression – Opioids adversely affect the respiratory system. High doses of opioids induce sleep and slow down breathing. This often leads to suffocation and death, and is the reason that so many overdoses occur.

Abuse that Leads to Death

Opioids account for more deaths than any other medication. More than 16,000 people die each year from an opioid overdose.

Many who lose their lives are taking opioids that were not prescribed to them. Opioids may even be responsible for many more deaths than we think because the deaths are frequently attributed to other causes. Opioid abuse often progresses to intravenous use, which may result in HIV or hepatitis C infections. Abuse of these drugs leads to impairment that can be responsible for car accidents, falls and more.

If you, a friend or a loved one is abusing opioids, do all that you can to find them help. Awareness of the dangerous side effects just may lead to fewer serious injuries and deaths.



Common Bicycle Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Bicycle Safety

As the weather in Texas becomes nice outside, many people will take to the streets on their bicycles to get some exercise. Unfortunately, each year over a hundred riders suffer from serious injuries and are involved in accidents with motor vehicles.

The latest statistics show that these bicycle accidents are most often the fault of the automobile driver. Motorists simply don’t watch out for bicycle riders as carefully as they should, and many are distracted by cellphones or other electronic devices.

Cyclists just don’t seem to get the respect they deserve from automobile drivers, and deadly collisions occur all too often in Texas. Being aware of the most common reasons that these accidents occur just may help you avoid becoming a statistic.

These are the most common causes of bicycling accidents today:

  • Negligent motorists are the number one cause of bicycle injuries and deaths (making sharp turns in front of cyclists, following too closely, driving cyclists off the road, sideswiping cyclists on the shoulder of the road)
  • Negligent from manufacturers or retailers of bicycles, bicycle parts, bicycle accessories and/or vehicles (defective products)
  • Unsafe conditions on public property (negligent design, maintenance or upkeep of public property, including tree trimming or other obstructions or obstacles.
  • Unsafe conditions on private property (negligent or defective maintenance or lack of upkeep on private property)

In order to avoid these events, be aware of behaviors like this from motorists around you and always be a defensive driver. Always use signals, and ride in bicycle lanes that are constructed just for bicycle riders whenever possible. Also, only ride with the appropriate, legal number of riders that the bicycle is made to hold. Proper turn lanes should be used at all times.

Consult Legal Counsel

If you or a family member has been injured as the result of a bicycle accident, call the expert bicycle injury lawyers at Van Wey Law right away. Our attorneys will provide you with a free evaluation of your case and gather every piece of evidence to build the strongest possible case. We will work to see that you are fully compensated for damages to your bicycle and gear, plus all medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Our friendly staff is accessible 24 hours a day for your questions and concerns.