Last weekend I called the poison center and ended up saving my family a potential $150 night’s stay at a local hotel.
My husband and I have been wanting to redo our basement since we bought our home three years ago. Nothing fancy, just make the unfinished space a safe place for our kids to play. You know, ride their tricycles, bounce a ball, some place to burn energy during the long winter days.
I left with the kids for three hours while my husband applied the floor coating. I had drilled him a bunch of times, “What did the label say to do about fumes?” He told me it did not say anything about using in a well-ventilated area so I should not worry about it.
When I returned with the kids the main floor smelled really “chemically.” Within a couple of minutes I was nauseated and felt weird. I was worried about my kids, especially my eight-month-old son, breathing in the fumes. I began to open all the windows on the main floor, even though it was only 20-something degrees outside. The product took about 12 hours to dry, so we were not sure how much longer it was going to smell really bad and make us feel sick.
We started brainstorming what we should do. My husband began discussing spending the night out of our home, either at my in-laws or at a local hotel. I suggested we call the poison center to see how bad it was for us, especially our son, to keep breathing it, and how long we should stay out of our home.
It turns out that you can get a headache and feel sick to your stomach from any sort of strong smell, even ones that are not harmful. The product was safe to breath in, unless one of us had other breathing problems such as asthma. The poison specialist told us that the fumes we were breathing in were not harmful. He thought for our own comfort we may want to ventilate the house or leave for a couple of hours. It wasn’t necessary for any safety reason except for our comfort.
The one simple call to the poison center saved us a lot of hassle and money. It also gave us peace of mind. My husband said it best when he looked at me and said, “That is a good example of what no one thinks to call the poison center about. I am glad you called.”
You can be the family hero, too. Just know the poison center phone number—1-800-222-1222, anywhere in the U.S.—and give them a call if you are not sure if you or a loved one are in harm’s way.