Deck the Halls, but Keep it Safe!

When decking your halls this holiday season, avoid the possibility of accidental poisoning by keeping certain plants and berries safely out of reach of little hands and paws.

  • Though your local florist may champion the colorful poinsettia as a benign plant breed, the plant’s vibrant red leaves emit a potentially toxic sap that can cause skin, mouth and stomach irritation when handled or ingested. Best to keep these Christmas decorations up high. If you suspect your child or pet has come into contact with poinsettia leaves, a quick scrub with soap and water can remove most of the sap from skin or fur. Call your doctor or veterinarian if you think your child or pet has ingested poinsettia leaves.
  • Bright green holly makes a terrific seasonal ornamental, and you may be tempted to line your staircase banister or walkway with this plant, but as beautiful as those ruby-red berries may be, they can cause a wicked tummy-ache (or worse) when ingested. Keep holly berries up high, away from pets and children, and remove the berries of holly used to decorate easily-accessible stairways and doors. Though the berries of the holly bush can cause vomiting, diarrhea and intestinal distress, the toxins contained in the holly berries are rarely fatal, so don’t panic if you think your child (or pet) has eaten one or two. Just notify the pediatrician, veterinarian or your local poison control center, and they’ll advise you on how to treat the impending discomfort.
  • Kissing under the mistletoe can not only pass along cold germs, if your mistletoe drops a berry or two, it can be fatal to small children or pets! Remove these extremely poisonous berries before hanging mistletoe in your home, and dispose of them carefully. Wash your hands after handling mistletoe berries, and keep Christmas kisses short and sweet–preferably on the cheek!
  • If your family prefers the smell of a live pine tree to the convenience of an artificial variety, keep your pets and children safe by removing stray pine needles from the floor whenever you see them. Their sweet smell may prompt pets and kids to put the needles in their mouths, which can lead to skin irritation, allergic reactions or–in the case of accidental ingestion–punctured digestive organs. Vacuum daily around the tree, and keep small children and pets away from the pine needles if you can. If you suspect your child or pet has ingested pine needles, contact your pediatrician or veterinarian immediately for information on signs that the needles may have cause harm. Or save yourself the trouble, and consider buying an artificial tree this year!

We hope this article helps.

The Stromsoe Insurance Agency Total Protection wishes you and your loved ones a wonderful and safe holiday season!

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