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Calling Poison Help

  • Right away call the Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222), which connects you to your local poison center. A poison expert will tell you exactly what to do. If necessary, the poison center may stay on the phone with you while you get other help.

  • The toll-free Poison Help line is 1-800-222-1222. When you call the number, you will reach specially trained poison experts at a poison center that serves your area. This number provides free and confidential help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Interpretation services are available in 161 languages.

  • When you call the Poison Help line, be ready to give information (listed below) to the expert on the phone. It is important to stay calm. Not all medicines and household products are poisonous. Not all contact with poison results in poisoning. When you call, make sure to have the container of the product you think caused the poisoning. The label has important information. When calling the Poison Help line, be ready (if you can) to tell the expert:

    • The person’s age and weight
    • Known health conditions or problems
    • The product involved
    • How the product contacted the person (for example, by mouth, by inhaling, through the skin, or through the eyes)
    • How long ago the poison contacted the person
    • What first aid has already been given
    • Whether the person has vomited
    • Your exact location and how long it would take you to get to a hospital

    If medicine has been swallowed, do not give anything by mouth until you have talked to a Poison Help expert.

  • An expert answers the phone at a local poison center. You will reach a pharmacist, nurse, doctor, or other poison expert. All of them have had special training to handle poison emergencies. Also, the person who answers will be an expert who specializes in the issues of your community. These experts are trusted by local doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and emergency workers. They offer the best information on poison-related questions and treatments.

  • Right away call the Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222), which connects you to your local poison center. A poison expert will tell you exactly what to do. If necessary, the poison center may stay on the phone with you while you get other help.

  • Poison experts are available at poison centers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The call is free and confidential and can be translated into 161 languages. The Poison Help line is available in all 50 states. People usually get the help they need over the phone and do not have to go to a doctor or the hospital. When doctors and nurses have questions about poisons, they often call the poison centers, too.

  • Yes. The Poison Help line can answer questions about poisons and also how to prevent them. The best way to prevent poisoning is to learn about poisoning risks before an emergency.

  • The busiest times for poison centers are typically during the summer, when children are out of school, and during the evening, when families are at home. But remember, poison centers are prepared to handle calls at any time, on any day.

  • Calling a poison center is confidential. When you call a poison center, they keep a written record of your information, which is entered into a chart. The poison expert who handles your call will also record treatment advice and information from follow-up calls.

  • If you are taking care of a child, keep the child’s health information on hand. Refer to the What You Can Do section to learn more about being prepared for a poison emergency.

  • If needed, the poison center will call you to make sure the problem was resolved. Poison center experts will know how many times to check on you, depending on the type of poison exposure and your overall health.

  • Frequently, callers are individuals who are taking care of children under age six. However, Poison Help is an important resource for everyone of all ages, including health care providers.

  • No. Poisoning can happen to anyone, of any age. Adults, including health care providers, may need the poison center’s help, for example, if they are splashed with a poison at work, or use a cleaning product without gloves. Also, the misuse of medicine (whether intentional or not) causes poisonings in teens and adults of all ages, including older adults. In fact, most deaths from poisoning happen in adults, not young children.