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Are Poinsettias Poisonous?

Christmas brings up so many varied memories. One of mine from childhood doesn't involve Santa but something else red and pretty. When I was about five years old, my mom yelled at me for touching the poinsettia plant at our local post office. She told me the plant was poisonous, and I believed her, so I haven't gone near one since. It turns out, though, that those scarlet red leaves are totally harmless. Dr. Rachel Vreeman, from the Indiana University School of Medicine, says "The American Association of Poison Control Centers has a record of 22,793 cases of human poinsettia ingestion and zero resulted in significant poisoning. Ninety-six percent of the poinsettia-eaters didn't even need to see a doctor." I guess moms don't know everything, but don't tell my girls.

So feel free to decorate your home with these festive plants. If you're worried about a child or pet getting into them, it's best to keep the poinsettia plants somewhere they can be enjoyed visually, like on the mantle where they cannot be fondled or chewed.

Fit's Tip: It's definitely a good rule of thumb to contact the poison control center or your local vet if a person or pet has eaten any nonfood item that you're concerned about.


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