Adventures in food poisoning

Toxic Relatives: No Known Antidote

While we can’t help you with an antidote for toxic relatives, the Washington Poison Center can help you keep from accidentally poisoning each other this holiday season. Do these characters sound familiar?

The Guileless Gourmet — Your younger sister is hosting the holiday meal for the first time and has overestimated her abilities: undercooked turkey, giblet bag left inside, and food left out for hours because she thought the turkey would cook faster.

Happy-Go-Lucky Grandparents – Grandma packs Grandpa’s medicines in a plastic baggy with the dog treats.  Grandpa’s hypertension goes untreated and the dog is taking more than a power nap.

Reckless Ralph – Your childless uncle leaves his cigarette butts and glass of whiskey on the coffee table. Now, the toddlers are lethargic and vomiting.

The Gift Miser – You asked for a cashmere sweater from your husband and place the wrapped gift he gave you under tree, only to have the dog tear into the package and eat the dark chocolate Santa he really bought.

Anxious Annie – After a day of listening to your mother nag about her parenting skills, your wife inadvertently learns of the adverse interactions of anti-anxiety medication and spiked eggnog.

Halitosis Harry – You crumble the mistletoe into the catnip to avoid kissing the eligible bachelor with bad dental hygiene that your Grandma is trying to set you up with. Now the cat is puking instead of purring.

If you answered ‘yes’ to these scenarios, reach out and feel the love of your Poison Center Specialists this holiday season. Give Uncle Ralph our number for the holidays, 800-222-1222 and keep it handy for yourself.  Or call our dedicated pet line, VetPETS, at 800-572-5842 with concerns about your furry family (a $45 fee applies for pet-related calls). The Washington Poison Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – especially on the holidays!  Call us with your questions about food poisoning, medication mix-ups, alcohol overindulgence, chemicals, plants, or other toxic exposures. For more information and more holiday tips, go to our website


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