Thursday, June 16, 2011
Poison Control number should always be posted in your home

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Today's article begins with a pop quiz. What is the phone number of the Poison Control Center? If you know, you pass the test. If you do not know, then take the time and look it up and see how long it takes you to find the number. When we are dealing with an acute poisoning, every minute is valuable. Even a 2 to 3 minute search for the phone number can be a problem for some poisonings. The best example is when someone drinks a burning substance like Liquid Plumber. At one time, the number of the local poison control center was easily found in the local phone book. However, over time two things have happened. The first is that there are now multiple people that produce phone books. Some of them have the poison control number easy to find. In others, it is not so prominent. The other issue is that many people no longer use phone books that frequently. They rely on their smart phones or the Internet to get phone numbers. For parents with children under age 5, the poison control number needs to be posted on a magnet on the refrigerator. For everyone else, it is important to have easy access to the number because there are a number of poisons that are common. We think that we might never need to use the number and this is not necessarily true. For example, what do you do if someone does drink something like Liquid Plumber? What do you do if you get a caustic substance on your skin? What do you do if you get something in your eyes? All of these things require rapid action. Those actions can be easily accessed by the Poison Control Center. People sometimes place poisons in dangerous locations. They might transfer a substance from its original container to a small container to make space which is always a bad move. It means you do not know what is in the new container, you no longer have the warning labels from the original container and that someone might assume it is something else. Many individuals carry medication around with them. It might be Tylenol or other prescription medication carried in a purse or another carrying case. Things like purses might be left where children can get them when you are away from home so this represents a dangerous situation. You should carry only a few pills around if you need to do so. For example, the typical one-year-old weighs about 10 kg (22 lbs.). The usual dose of Tylenol in that age group is 10-15 mg/kg/dose (100-150 mg). Overdose can occur at 10 times the normal maximum dose. That is 1500 mg. Three extra strength Tylenol tablets equal 1500 mg. A serious overdose occurs above 2000 mg. Thus if a young child gets into a pocketbook containing extra strength Tylenol, he/she needs about 4 pills to have a significant overdose. That is when you need the number of the Poison Control Center close by. The number is 1-800-222-1222. It is not hard to remember. However, you probably do not want to test your memory skills in an emergency situation.

Early Stage Alzheimer's seminar Julie Thomas, early stage and advocacy coordinator for the Alzheimer's Association, Delaware Valley Chapter, will speak on the topic of Early Stage Alzheimer's at Frankford United Methodist Church in Frankford, on Tuesday, June 28, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thomas's presentation will include information on how the disease is diagnosed and best practices for people living with early stages of dementia. Thomas will also introduce the early stage services offered by the Delaware Valley Chapter, which include community education, dual support groups, art & culture programming and volunteer opportunities in the Sussex County area. This program is open to both caregivers and individuals within the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of memory related disorders. For information on the Early Stage program or to inquire about other programs and education, call the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter at 800-272-3900.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program. The location rotates each week of the month according to this schedule:

  • 1st Thursday: Grottos Pizza, Rt. 26, Bethany Beach;
  • 2nd Thursday: Georgia House, 300 Delaware Ave., Laurel;
  • 3rd Thursday: Millsboro Pizza Palace, Rt. 113-southbound lane, Millsboro;
  • 4th Thursday: Blue Ocean Grill (formerly Milton House), 200 Broadkill Rd., Milton;
  • 5th Thursday (when applicable): Texas Grill (formerly Ocean Point Grill), 26089 Long Neck Rd., Millsboro.
  • "New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required. There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Carol Dobson or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

    Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

    Seaford Center honors employees Seaford Center Genesis Health Care is celebrating 35 years of serving the local community and would like to pay special recognition to three team members who have been at the center since it opened in 1976. Carolyn Grant was most likely the first employee hired at the center on April 5, 1976, as a member of the construction clean up crew and housekeeping department. After years of service she received training and became a personal care assistant and continues to serve in that role today full-time in the Assisted Living facility. Anne Howard was hired in May 1976 as a Certified Nurse Assistant and later received training as a Geriatric Nurse Aid Specialist in 1992. Today she works part-time as a restorative aide in the rehabilitation department. Sue Messick, RN, was hired as an LPN in 1976 and, while working at the center, continued her studies to became an RN. Today, she works full-time as an 11p to 7a supervisor.

    Cancer support group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a general cancer support group at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital for people affected by cancer and their loved ones. The on-going monthly support group meets in the first floor resource library of the Cancer Care Center on the third Monday of each month. The next meeting is June 20 at 4:30 p.m. For more information or to register for this free support group, call 645-9150. For more information about The Wellness Community, visit

    Hospice holds camp for grieving kids Delaware Hospice has spaces available at its free, four-day Camp New Hope in Sussex County, which benefits children and teens coping with the loss of a loved one.Camp New Hope will be held from July 12 through July 15, at Trap Pond for Sussex County residents. Since 1990, Delaware Hospice's New Hope program has offered individual and family counseling to more than 1,500 children and adolescents aged 6-17 who have suffered a loss. New Hope supports children referred from the community as well as members of Delaware Hospice families. The New Hope program is based on the belief that children can be supported in the process of grief reconciliation if they are provided with opportunities to express their feelings. Camp New Hope is the annual highlight of the New Hope Program.This inspirational day camp takes place over four days, connecting children in similar age groups in order to help them process their feelings of loss and grief. Many of the children in New Hope have lost a parent, a grandparent, or another close relative to illness or sudden death. The children are encouraged to express themselves by creating art projects such as murals, memory boxes, pillows and clay sculpting.They sing, participate in role-play, discuss their feelings in a one-on-one setting, enjoy group discussion with peers and counselors, play, exercise and find that they are not alone in their grief. Each camp concludes with a memorial service attended by parents and family members.You may refer a child to this year's Camp New Hope by contacting New Hope Coordinator for Sussex County, Angela Turley at 856-7717, ext. 3104, or