What to Expect When You Call The Poison Control Center
The Poison Control Center is a non-profit organization which provides emergency poison information to the general public and to health care professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Poison Control Center participates in a national data collection program and is certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC).
The Center is staffed by specialists in poison information (SPI) who are nurses, pharmacists and physicians with special training in toxicology. In addition, many of our specialists are certified by the AAPCC. SPIs can determine what is potentially poisonous to your child by asking very specific questions and, when needed, will follow the progress of your child for a specific period of time after a poisoning occurs.
Questions the Specialist Will Ask You
- Your name and the name of the person who was poisoned.
- The phone number where someone from the poison center can reach you for follow-up
- The age and weight of the person who was poisoned and any medical history that would be important in this patient
- The time that the exposure occurred
- The name of the product/medication involved. Have the product/medication at the phone with you when calling the poison center if at all possible. The specialist may need to confirm ingredients with you since there are many products or medications that have similar names but different ingredients.
- How the person looks at the time you are calling. If there are any symptoms at the time of the call. If the person has vomited?
- The events surrounding the exposure:
- How long was the person in contact with the poisonous substance?
- Was it swallowed, inhaled, absorbed through skin contact, or splashed into the eye?
- How much could he/she have ingested, was anything done for the person before the poison center was called?
- If medicine has been swallowed, do not give anything by mouth until advised by the poison center.
- If chemicals or household products have been swallowed, offer a small amount of water, then call for professional advice about whether or not you should make the patient vomit.
- The information that you give to the specialist is very important in helping to determine the extent of the poisoning. Please be assured that this information is confidential and used only to keep track of your child's progress during that exposure.