A total of 3,983 cases of poisoning were reported in 2017, down from 4,126 a year before, according to the Hong Kong Poison Information Centre (HKPIC).
However, the number of people who died of poisoning last year went up slightly to 39 from 36 a year earlier, the center said in its annual report that was released on Thursday.
The report showed that 21 of the 39 cases involved suicides, while another six were related to drug abuse, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The HKPIC highlighted the hidden risks posed by household products, saying the colorful designs of their packaging and their scent often cause them to be mistaken for being edible, especially by children and the elderly. This is the cause of several poisoning cases.
In one case, a woman mistook bath salts for sweet corn soup because she said she saw the Chinese character for “soup” on the packaging, prompting her to cook and consume it.
In another poisoning case, two children thought a stick used for cleaning drain pipes was a candy bar and ate it.
Then there was the case of an old man who mistook the iron powder in a hand warmer bag for sesame paste and swallowed it. He was also rushed to hospital as a poisoning case.
Families need to be careful with household products, especially if they have old people or little children at home, the HKPIC said.
Household products must be put in their proper places, and their uses as well as handling must be fully explained, it added.
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