Poison control in Birmingham is warning people to keep the liquid nicotine in a safe place and out of the reach of children. Experts say the liquid is especially dangerous around kids.
"So just small amounts could be toxic, and if we believe that [a person] could have ingested that amount, they would have to be seen in an emergency department," Alabama Regional Poison Control Center Director Ann Slattery said.
She's referring to the dangers of liquid nicotine exposure. The substance can be found inside of e-cigarettes and refill bottles.
"More and more people are using them. As something comes into the home, more likely a child is going to get into it," added Slattery.
Poison controls centers across the country are seeing a major spike in liquid nicotine related cases.
According to Slattery, in the Alabama center handled 23 cases between 2010 and 2013. In just the first three months of 2014, they already had more than 20.
"Almost all of them have come to an emergency department, because if they're symptomatic we have to monitor them," she said.
The majority of cases are kids who got their hands on a bottle, got some on their skin or tasted it. Slattery says the liquid's high concentration of nicotine is what makes it so dangerous.
"We're seeing increased heart rate, increased blood pressure," she said.
In extreme cases, it can lead to problems with the nervous system.
"Then you might become drowsy, and result in a coma, and can result in a seizure," Slattery said.
For adults who handle liquid nicotine, Slattery recommends caution by locking up refill bottles and keeping e-cigarettes out of the reach of children.
Slattery says in some cases adults have confused the bottles for eye drops. She says anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to liquid nicotine should contact a poison control center immediately. The number for Alabama's regional office is 1-800-222-1222.
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