Dear Auntie Dote:
I saw a snake in the grass and someone told me to look at the shape of the eyes to determine whether it is poisonous? Is that true?.
It’s really hard to replace that fresh chili flavor, I know, but you do have to be careful with them.
The active property is Capsaicin, and it acts on certain mammalian nerve receptors (birds lack them, by the way, which explains their “immunity”) to make your skin feel like it is being deep fried! The oily substance tends to stick to your skin, and sink deep into cuts or open sores.
So, the first step is to wear gloves! Sounds simple, but it’s the best way to prevent skin contact.
Remember NOT to touch your face, especially your eyes. In fact, it is a very good idea to remove your contact lenses and put on eye protection before touching the peppers. Any kind of eyewear can at least keep that stray “splash” as you wash or cut them, and will put up a bit of a barrier against actually touching your eyes.
Remember, the entire pepper contains Capsaicin: the seeds, the veins, as well as the flesh.
Please, do call the Poison Center for treatment recommendations if you do have an exposure. We’ll be glad to help.
I can certainly understand how frustrated you must feel. It is a real challenge to keep those attractive little puzzle-game bottles away from a curious toddler. He seems to think the hunt is part of the game, doesn’t he? Generally, out of sight out of mind is the biggest key, but once he knows where they are, even a key won’t stop him. He will rise to the occasion when the game gets more exciting. You’re doing what you can, I know, and I can make one suggestion.
Get one of those tackle boxes you find in hardware and department stores. They come in all sizes, some large enough to put dangerous household products in, if you like. You can put all of your medications in there, and -- here’s the big idea -- put a combination (no keys) on it. All the adults in the family can have the combination. You can even put it in your address book, or post it somewhere handy. The idea is to build extra time into access. He can spend so much time trying to work the combination that HE will become the frustrated one and give up the effort. You can even put a small one in the refrigerator for those medications or products that need it. This one small addition may make all the difference.
Now, as to your plan to give him empty bottles, you may want to remember this: out of sight works, but so does IN sight. He may become even more attracted to pill bottles if you give them to him; he will see them as toys because mom gave them to him. This is not the direction you want to go! Just as parents should avoid telling children that their medicine is candy, you don’t want him to view pill bottles as toys.
I hope this helps a bit.
Dear Auntie Dote,
Dear Auntie Dote,
So Christmas is over and I’ve got a ton of those little packs that say “Do NOT eat.” Why?
And are these really poisonous, like my sister says? What should I do if my kids eat it?
Swimming in Silica (gel) in Bell Buckle
Dear Auntie Dote,
I’m having my whole family over for a holiday meal, and I’ve never cooked a turkey before. Can you tell me where to get some information? I don’t want to poison anyone!
New to the turkey thing
Food handling can be tricky. A rule of thumb: “Keep it hot, keep it cold, or don’t keep it.”
I know, that’s not very specific, but luckily there are some good places for information about this topic on the web and by phone:
Butterball Turkey Hotline (800) 288-8372
Empire Kosher Poultry Hotline (800) 367-4734
Foster Farms Turkey Help line (800) 255-7227
HoneySuckle White Turkey (800) 810-6325
Reynolds Turkey Tip Line (800) 745-4000
Shadybrook Farms Dial a Chef (800) 723-4468
USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline (800) 535-4555
Non-turkey food questions:
FDA hotline (888) SAFEFOOD, (888) 723-3366
If you feel that may have food poisoning, though, don’t hesitate to call us:
Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season,
Dear Auntie Dote,
I inherited some of those really cool Christmas bubble lights from my mom. One of them didn’t work, so I looked on the net to replace it. But I started reading about the methylene chloride in them, and now I’m afraid to use them.
Are they really that dangerous?
Worried in Sevierville
Bubble lights do commonly contain methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane.
I share your concerns because when dichloromethane leaks from its sealed container – it’s the “bubbler” when the light heats it up – and the fumes are inhaled, carbon monoxide can be produced in the body. I’m sure you’re aware how dangerous carbon monoxide can be.
For sure, it is probably a small amount that is likely to be inhaled, but children are particularly susceptible to toxicity. At our center, it is small children that are most often exposed; they are practically irresistible to them! Not only that, but dichloromethane is a suspected carcinogen – lungs, liver, pancreas, and it presents a hazard to pregnant women.
They are very attractive, as you can see, but may not be worth the risk.
If you do use decide to use them, I would only do so with extreme care. Put them well out of the reach of children (and pets!).
Do have a safe and happy Christmas,
Don’t forget to call us if you have an exposure at 1-800-222-1222
You can call this number from anywhere in Tennessee and reach Tennessee Poison Center. If you call 1-800-222-1222 from outside of Tennessee, you will reach the closest poison control center - that's peace of mind during the holiday season!
Dear Auntie Dote, I heard that wrapping paper, especially the red colors, were really bad for kids to get into. Is that true? How about the ribbon? I have a lot of little kids in my family, and they just love the wrapping paper, and stuff, but maybe I should use white or another color. What if they put it in their mouths?
All wrapped up in Christmas!
Dear All, The dyes and inks used in wrapping paper should not be dangerous to handle. Even sucking or putting it in the mouth should not be worrisome. The same applies to the ribbon. There’s just too little of the dyes or inks to cause any problem. Not to worry. The particular colors aren’t important and for the same reason. Feel free to be festive on the holidays! The only caution here is to be aware that paper and ribbon of any sort can be a choking hazard for little ones.
Happy Holidays, Auntie Dote