Pediatrician - Wall
3350 Highway 138 Building 2 Suite 126
Wall, NJ 07719

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Posts for: August, 2014

August 26, 2014
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Written by: Steven Marcus, MD, Executive and Medical Director & Bruce Ruck, Pharm.D., Director, Drug Information and Professional Education

As September approaches it’s time to celebrate the last days of summer. Here is the last of our Summer Safety Tips! Don’t spend your holiday in an emergency room. Prevent mishaps from occurring ….Remember, most poisonings are preventable! Follow the safety tips below.
• Do not cross-contaminate! Cooked foods should not be placed on any unwashed plates/containers that previously 
held raw meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.
• Cold foods should be kept refrigerated when not being served. Do not let food sit out at room temperature for more 
than 2 hours.
• Always wash hands and counters before preparing food. Use clean utensils for cooking and serving.
Medication (prescription, over-the-counter, herbal, dietary)
• When friends and family visit, lock up all of their medications (prescription and over-the-counter). Children, teens and 
pets die every year because adults (parents, guardians, grandparents, etc.) fail to realize the danger of keeping 
medicines in non-secure medicine cabinets, closets and drawers.
• Safely dispose of any unused and/or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications in the home. Remind the 
seniors in your lives to do the same. Drop-off sites are available in NJ where these medications can be properly 
discarded. Call the NJ Poison Experts at 800-222-1222 for local drop-off site near you. 
• Use caution with alcoholic beverages since the alcohol may interact with medications. Check with your pharmacist or 
the Poison Control Center to find out if an interaction may occur. Some medications can greatly increase the chance 
for severe sunburn.
Chemicals (pool products, pesticides, fertilizers, lamp oil, kerosene, lighter fluids, automotive fluids, etc.)
• Jugs containing lamp or torch oil must be stored in locked cabinets away from food and drinks. When accidentally 
taken by mouth, such lamp or torch oils can enter the lungs causing pneumonia and even death
Lamp and torch oil refill bottles may closely resemble juice containers; the containers and caps are designed 
similarly, the oils are colorful and fragrant; the liquids are practically identical in appearance with common 
fruit juices/drinks! Since it is difficult to pour the liquid directly from the refill bottle into the torch, consumers frequently pour the 
liquid into a plastic or paper cup in order to then transfer it into the torch. This leaves a cup with what 
appears to be lemonade or apple juice sitting in it making it an invitation for someone to mistakenly ingest the 
substance with a potentially disastrous outcome. Use a funnel to transfer the fluid; do not use drinking cups 
to transfer torch lamp oil from the storage bottle to the lamp, lantern or torch. 
• Read the directions on the label before using. 
• Keep all chemicals locked up out of reach of children and pets.
• Store all chemicals in their original, clearly-marked container. Always use child-resistant caps.
• Store chemicals in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area with a locked entry. 
Always choose the right chemical, for example pesticide, for the job at hand.
• Do not apply products on a windy day.
• Wear protective clothing, masks, eye protection when applying chemicals. Wash clothes, footwear or any exposed 
skin that comes in contact with chemicals.
Backyard Safety
• Know the name of plants and flowers in and around your home, including your yard and garden.
• Be alert to insects that may bite or sting. 
• Make sure all gardening, lawn care products, and pool products are stored in locked cabinets.
• Do not pick plants/mushrooms to eat from your backyard or fields. Even experts are often fooled by look-alikes which 
are toxic.
• Eliminate standing water that collects in birdbaths, buckets and containers, old tires, unused pools and roof gutters. 
Standing water is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Safe Grilling
• Store charcoal lighter fluid in locked cabinets, out of sight and reach of children and pets. Swallowing lighter fluid can 
lead to serious poisoning. 
• When taking cooked food off the grill, do not put it back on the same plate that held raw food.
• Turn meats over at least once to cook evenly.
• Do not partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.
• Use a meat thermometer to make sure meats have reached the proper internal temperature. The color of meat and
poultry is not a good indicator of safety. 
• Never use your gill indoors, in a garage, shed, etc.! 
Sun Exposure 
• Avoid sunburn by limiting time spent in the sun especially when the sun is the strongest (from 10 am to 2 pm). 
• Wear clothing to cover exposed skin (long-sleeve shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses) and regularly apply sunscreen 
with a broad spectrum SPF of 15 or higher.
• Use caution in the sun because some medications can greatly increase the chance for severe sunburn even when 
using sunscreen. Speak to your physician and pharmacist about the medications you take and determine if they 
increase your risk for sunburn!
• Insect repellents such as DEET, picaridin and permethrin may be used on children older than 2 months of age. Oil of 
lemon eucalyptus is not recommended on children under 3 years of age. 
• Do not spray insect repellents on the face since they may irritate the eyes and mouth. Instead, spray onto hands and 
then rub onto the face. Avoid applying repellents to broken skin or wounds, and avoid applying repellents under 
Do not take chances by waiting until symptoms. If an exposure occurs, it’s good to know help is just a phone call away. If 
someone is unconscious, not breathing, seizing/convulsing, bleeding profusely, difficult to arouse/wake up, etc. call 911 
immediately, otherwise call the NJ Poison Experts at (1-800-222-1222). “Don’t waste valuable time looking up information on 
the Internet when every minute counts. Many of the calls we get are genuine emergencies,” said Steven Marcus, MD, executive 
and medical director of the NJ Poison Center. “Having a poison expert give you exact instructions for your specific situation can 
help significantly during those critical first few minutes.”

August 23, 2014
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Mid August marks the time of year when high school graduates prepare to enter their freshman year of college, with many leaving home for the first time. With all the responsibilities and stressors that come with adjusting to both the social pressures and expectations of college life, it’s not uncommon for some freshmen, as well as upper classmen, to participate in potentially dangerous behavior throughout their college years.

The NJ Poison Experts would like to call attention to a few concerns facing incoming freshmen:

Binge Drinking (Chugging): Although underage drinking is illegal and therefore not endorsed by poison center experts, we know it happens on college campuses across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines it as men drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks within a short period of time or women drinking 4 or more drinks within a short period of time. The chance of getting sick and dying from alcohol related health problems increases significantly for those who binge drink.

“Drinking too much, too fast can essentially kill you,” said Steven Marcus, MD, executive and medical director of the NJ Poison Center.  “Keep in mind that alcohol is a depressant, which means it can slow your breathing, heart rate, and decrease blood pressure especially if blood alcohol levels rise sharply in a short time period,” said Marcus. When this happens, people lose consciousness and can die. Alcohol poisoned individuals also increase their risk of dying by choking on their own vomit.” Other unforeseen dangers may include car crashes, violence, suicide, alcohol poisoning, unintended pregnancy, STDs/HIV/Hepatitis, liver disease, neurological problems, poor control of diabetes, children born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), high blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.For those students of legal drinking age who choose to drink alcohol, do so responsibly.  Keep your eye on your drink at all times to protect yourself from having a date-rape drug dropped into your drink without your knowledge– both men and women are at risk of being drugged. Never leave drinks unattended and do not accept drinks from a stranger. Students should try to drink their drinks right out of the original container which lowers the risk of someone contaminating their drink.

Misuse of Drugs as Study Aids: “Study drugs” are drugs such as prescription medicines for ADHD and OTC energy producing supplements and coffee or caffeine, that are misused/abused to help a student stay awake and study. Students often believe that these drugs enhance or focus concentration and increase stamina when they cram for tests or write lengthy papers. The use of study drugs is not new. For years, students have looked for ways to make studying easier, more efficient and more manageable. When prescribed to and used appropriately by those who have ADHD, these prescription medicines are safe to use.

Prescription medicines: These medicines contain the stimulants dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate and their derivatives.  Some students without ADHD “abuse” these medicines as a study drug. The NJ Poison Experts remind the public that it is illegal and potentially harmful to share their prescription medications with someone else who it was not prescribed for. For some people with undiagnosed or preexisting mental health issues, these prescription drugs can make their conditions worse.

We urge students to use lockable medicine cabinets/boxes to keep all their medications, both prescription and over the counter, locked up at all times. This will help prevent such medicines from being stolen, misused, and abused.  Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of unintentional poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

Caffeine:  Historically, this has been limited to drinking multiple cups of coffee or tea to help students through all-nighters. The dose is increased considerably, however, by taking caffeine pills or consuming multiple energy drinks. Caffeine pills can contain up to 200 mg. of caffeine in each pill, two to three times the amount in a cup of coffee. Energy drinks also contain a large amount of caffeine, and some contain additional stimulants.  Pure caffeine is a powerful stimulant, therefore, even a small amount of it can cause a fatal overdose due to the product being nearly 100 percent pure caffeine. According to some reports, one teaspoon of caffeine powder is equal to drinking about 25 cups of coffee.


Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a serious concern once the weather begins to get colder.  Often referred to as the “Silent Killer” because it is a gas that gives no warning – you can’t see it, smell it or taste it. When the gas is breathed into the body it combines with the body’s blood and prevents it from absorbing and using oxygen. Exposure can product headaches, sleepiness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, impaired vision and coordination, and even death. If living off campus in an apartment or home, be sure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed; change the batteries twice a year.

Adjusting to freshmen year of college can be quite scary for students and especially for their parents. If an exposure occurs, it’s good to know help is just a phone call away. Do not take chances by waiting until symptoms appear. If someone is unconscious, not breathing, seizing/convulsing, bleeding profusely, difficult to arouse/wake up, etc. call 911 immediately, otherwise call the NJ Poison Experts at (1-800-222-1222). Help is always available – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

“Students should program the Poison Help line into their cell phones in the event they need our help. Calling 1-800-222-1222 from anywhere in the country will connect them to the nearest poison center,” said Dr. Marcus. “Don’t waste valuable time looking up information on the Internet when every minute counts. Many of the calls we get are genuine emergencies.” Having a poison expert give you exact instructions for your specific situation can help significantly during those critical first few minutes.

Help is Just a Phone Call Away!

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3350 Highway 138 Building 2 Suite 126,
Wall, NJ 07719