San Francisco – California Poison Control System (CPCS), the largest single provider of poison control services in the United States, is observing National Poison Prevention Week March 18 – 24. CPCS manages poisoning cases or questions related to medications, chemicals, drugs, pesticides, work-related hazards and poisonous plants, spiders or snakes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, every 13 seconds a U.S. Poison Control Center answers a call about a possible poisoning. Poisonings are a significant health problem in California, resulting in over 220,000 calls to CPCS each year, or about 600 exposures a day. While poisoning exposures can happen in a variety of environments, parents and caretakers may be surprised to learn that about 80 percent of all calls are made from the home, and nearly half of these calls involve children under age five. The most common causes of poisoning among young children are cosmetics and personal care products. In most cases, a poison exposure can be safely managed at home, avoiding a call to 911 or a visit to a crowded hospital emergency room.
“Our experts are available to answer questions any time, not just for emergencies,” said Stuart E. Heard, Pharm. D., Executive Director, CPCS. “Each year, more than 60,000 visits in California to emergency rooms and doctors’ offices are averted because parents and families call CPCS first.” He added that it’s critical that information about how to prevent poisoning becomes more widely known and disseminated. National Poison Prevention Week reminds the nation about the free preventive and lifesaving services poison centers offer. Some of the free services offered by CPCS include:
- The CPCS toll-free number 1-800-222-1222 is answered quickly by pharmacists, nurses and poison information providers. Callers throughout California receive expert treatment advice and referral in cases of exposure to poisonous or toxic substances free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are handled confidentially.
- Interpreters for more than 200 languages are available at all times.
- Weekly tips about safety are available by texting TIPS to 20121 for information in English or text PUNTOS to 20121 for Spanish.
- Choose Your Poison is a free online game that can be played with the whole family. Can you tell the difference between pills and candy?
- CPCS provides news, tips and poison prevention on its Facebook and Twitter pages. Connect to learn more.
- The Pesticide Safety Project gives communities and promotores ways to help farm workers learn how to protect themselves from poison and pesticide exposure.
Suggested tweet: @poisoninfo says save our free 1-800-222-1222 number into your phones; get family & friends to do the same!
About California Poison Control
For more information about California Poison Control, visit www.calpoison.org. In case of an accidental poisoning, immediately call 1-800-222-1222 (this number works in all states) for advice 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. CPCS also conducts public health surveillance and acts as a community sentinel notifying local and state agencies, the media and the public of potential health threats. The CPCS has four divisions located at UC Davis Medical Center; Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital; Valley Children's Hospital; and UC San Diego Medical Center. The CPCS is part of the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy and responsible to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.
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Press contact: Susan Tellem, APR, RN, BSN, 310-313-3444 x1 [email protected]