Help the Poison Control Center Help You
I learned a few things about the poison control centers this past weekend at an Emergency Preparedness Fair. Did you know that there are 55 poison control centers in the US and its territories? When you call the center number 1-800-222-1222, you are referred to a regional center near you. Which makes sense, because each region will have its own specific toxic plants, snakes, and spiders. That means that your regional Poison Control Center is plugged into the needs of your area.
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When you call, they follow your case through to the end. They will give you medical advice at home, refer you to a hospital if necessary and call the hospital ahead of your arrival so you are expected. They will consult with your hospital or doctor about specific treatments.
Health care providers rely on the Poison Control Center for valuable information that they may not otherwise have access to. The Center offers free, confidential advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What are some common poisons?
Poisonous products that may be found in and around the home:
- vitamins and iron pills
- cleaning products
- eye drops
- laundry products
- nail polish products and other cosmetics
- bug and weed killers
- plants (indoor and outdoor
- lighter fluids
The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that there have been 6397 exposures of concentrated laundry detergent packets to children under age 5, from January to July 2017.
E-cigarette and liquid nicotine reported exposures for 2014 were at an all-time 4024 exposures, and while the trend seems to be decreasing there are still 1425 cases reported from January 1 to July 31, 2017. Other trending alerts include exposure to hand sanitizer, opioid pain medications, laundry detergent packages, and synthetic marijuana. Follow these alerts and other upcoming concerns on their alerts page.
Poisoning First Aid Chart
A poison is something that can be harmful if swallowed, spilled on the skin, splashed in the eyes or inhaled. Do not wait to call poison control! 1-800-222-1222
- Has the person collapsed or stopped breathing? Call 911 right away
- Poison in the eyes? Rinse with running water for 15-20 minutes, Call poison control
- Poison on the skin? Take off any clothing that they poison touched, rinse skin with running water for 15-20 minutes. Call
- Inhaled poison? Get to fresh air right away and call 1-800-222-1222
- Swallowed the wrong medicine or too much medicine? Call right away
- Swallowed something that’s not food or medicine? Drink a small amount of milk or water and call 1-800-222-1222
First and foremost, when there is a poison emergency, call the regional poison center at 800-222-1222 for immediate poison help. Every time you call the poison center, you will get help from a live nurse specifically trained with poison techniques.
The staff at the poison control center is there to give you fast and effective treatment information and will help you at any time, day or night, seven days a week. No question is too small!
There are things you need to do to help the poison control center do its job:
- Stay Calm- Your behavior helps the poisoned person remain calm and comfortable. It helps the staff to work with you effectively and efficiently.
- The staff will ask you important questions and your answers will help them to plan the best treatment for your poison emergency
- They will need information –
- Your name and phone number
- The name, age, and weight of the poison victim
- Any problems or symptoms the person is having
- The name of the poison (have the bottle handy in case you need to spell it)
- The amount of the drug or poison the victim has had
Rules to Remember When There Is a Poison Emergency
- When a person is not breathing or moving in response to being touched or shaken, call 911 immediately. This may be a life threating event.
- When someone has swallowed a poison or taken the wrong medicine, remove the medicine from their reach. Tonya says it is surprising how many people call because their children have taken an adult medication and the kids are still walking around with the bottle. Remove the medicine from them and call Poison HELP 1-800-222-1222
- Do not try to make the person vomit, this can make matters worse
- Remember – no salt water, no raw eggs, no mustard or other home remedies
- Do not try to gag them with a finger or spoon
- Do not give Syrup of Ipecac; it is no longer used for home treatment of poisonings. There are many situations where the use of Syrup of Ipecac can make things worse. Bottom line – never use Ipecac without instructions from your regional poison control center.
Educating Your children
Play the tox mystery game at Poison (dot) org.
Tampa General Hospital – Teaching Poison Prevention to Children grades k-3.
Become a Danger Ranger. A fun interactive website for kids grades k-3. What’s your super power?
TO DO – Print the First Aid Chart for Poisoning and place it on the refrigerator. -Memorize and prominently display the poison control phone number 1-800-222-1222. -Safely store all potential home hazards. -Get Mr. Yuk stickers and teach your kids.