health mind and body

Guide to safe Pesach prep


Every year, Magen David Adom in Israel tends to wounds that occur as a result of pre-Passover cleaning and other holiday preparations. The first case of the year took place this week.

MDA teams in Jerusalem were called to treat a nine year old girl and two of her little brothers who drank a poisonous cleaning liquid found in a plastic beverage bottle. MDA EMTs and paramedics provided the children with preliminary medical treatment and evacuated them to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in stable condition.

 In order to maintain your safety and avoid common hazards of the holiday, MDA shares its safety guidelines (modified for America):

Avoiding poisoning

•Keep cleaning materials out of children's reach, write and clearly mark the bottles and packaging

•Return materials to a sealed cabinet once you've finished cleaning

•Keep materials and liquids in their original packaging

•Do not transfer materials and liquid to beverage bottles (especially water bottles)

•While cleaning, keep food away from cleaning agents

•While cleaning your house, make sure to wear sealed shoes to avoid slipping and feet burns

•Babies tend to insert objects into their mouths. Rinse the house well after cleaning to avoid leftover poisonous materials

•Pregnant and breastfeeding women should refrain from exposure to cleaning supplies

•Read the instructions on the cleaning product packaging to ensure it is user and environment friendly

•Do not mix different cleaning liquids

•Once you've finished cleaning, keep windows open to air out the house

•It is recommended to purchase cleaning products in children-resistant packaging

•Do not leave buckets of water unattended as toddlers can drown, even in shallow water, within seconds 

Poisoning: Preliminary treatment

•In case of poisoning, call Hatzalah or 911

•Do not provide “antidotes” such as milk or lemon.

•Inducing vomiting is dangerous to the patient, ensure airways are clear and that the patient is sitting in a comfortable position.

•In case materials penetrated the eyes, rinse them well with flowing water and don't rub. If redness, itching and tearing continues, Hatzalah or 911 and request an ambulance.

•In case of burns as a result of exposure to cleaning agents, call Hatzalah or 911, request an ambulance and operate in accordance to the instructions on the product packaging.

•Allergies: if the allergy is light and topical, rinse the area with water only and operate in accordance to the instructions on the product packaging. In case of breathing difficulty and swelling, dial Hatzalah or 911 and request an ambulance while seating the patient down. 

Avoiding burns

•While baking, cooking and destructing leaven – keep children away, watch them and direct them to stay away from sources of heat.

•Keep hot object away from children's reach.

•During destruction of leaven keep children away and make sure to control the fire.

Burns: Preliminary treatment

•Firstly, dial Hatzalah or 911 and request and ambulance. If the patient has caught on fire roll them in sand or dirt, pour water on them, and cover them using a wet blanket (without covering the head to avoid asphyxiation).

•In case of topical burns — rinse the wounded organ in warm, flowing water and calm the patient down.

Cleaning injuries

•Wet floor, improvised and unstable ladders, and more, raise the chances for a back or limbs injuries. Make sure to use safe ladders and wipe the floor often.

•Do not climb bars or windows in order to avoid falling, it is recommend to extract the window from its rail, clean it, and put it back in its place as to avoid climbing.

•In any case of any injury refrain from moving the patient, dial Hatzalah or 911 and adhere to the instructions of the EMTs and paramedics at the dispatching center until the arrival of the ambulance.

MDA cautions that “in no way shape or form do these guidelines grant authority to treat or diagnose medical cases beyond your professional first aid knowledge. These guidelines do not aim to replace a first aid course.”

MDA is Israel’s national ambulance, blood-services, and disaster-relief organization, serving as emergency medical first responders for the state’s more than eight million people.