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Real Poison Center Case

There was a family gathering of 8 people and they all had mashed potatoes and gravy. After about 12 hours, everyone began to experience symptoms of nausea and vomiting. The father called the poison center to figure out what might be the cause.  The specialist in poison information informed them that it may be food poisoning associated with the gravy, since everyone ate the mashed potatoes and gravy.


3 people were referred to the emergency room and treated  for food poisoning. They were given IV (intravenous) fluids and were later sent home after symptoms improved. The next day the specialist in poison information did a follow up call and confirmed all of the 8 people who ate the gravy were doing well.  

Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

It's a time to be thankful and grateful for the opportunity to spend time with family and all the good food that will be eaten.   It is also important to remember these safety tips to avoid an unwanted food poisoning. 

  • If food is left out for more than 2 hours, it should be discarded.
  • Avoid cross contamination with raw foods such as meats, poultry, and seafood.
  • Store leftovers as soon as possible, preferably before an hour.
  • Wash hands and countertops before and after cooking. 
  • Please check cooked meats with a meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked thoroughly.
  • Make sure to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours of thawing for each 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.

Mercury Poisoning  

Mercury is an metallic element on the periodic table with chemical name Hg. It can exist in all 3 forms, solid, liquid, or gas. It can be found  in many different products such as thermometers, barometers, and electric switches as well as in some foods and personal care products as a contaminant. 


Acute mercury poisoning can occur whenever an item that contains mercury is damaged. The droplets can become vaporized into the air and inhaled because of its low boiling point.  Any amount of mercury exposure can be hazardous to humans. Depending on the length of mercury exposure, it can have lasting health effects.  Chronic exposure to mercury can also be hazardous. Some of the potential health effects are listed below.


Short term health effects of mercury exposure can include:

  • Cough and sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • headache
  • chest pain


Long term health effects of mercury exposure can include:

  • anxiety
  • sleeping problems
  • irritability
  • changes in hearing and vision
  • tremors


If you or someone you know suspects mercury exposure or have questions about mercury exposure, please call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.

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