Officials with the Upstate New York Poison Center are sharing information during National Poison Prevention Week, which started on March 20.
The officials state that before going further, readers should add this number to their phone: 1-800-222-1222.
This number, available nationwide, connects callers with the closest Poison Center. These centers are staffed by experts with extensive training in preventing poisonings and limiting injury from poisoning. The Upstate New York Poison Center covers 54 counties in New York. National Poison Prevention Week, held from March 20-26, is an ideal time to plug the toll-free, 24/7 number into your cell phone, and familiarize yourself with Poison Center services.
“National Poison Prevention Week is a time for all families to pause, look around their home and see how they can keep their family poison-free,” said Michele Caliva, Administrative Director of the Upstate New York Poison Center. “We are here for families 24/7, 365 days a year to answer questions and help during a poison emergency. We have been around for 65 years and we hope each year families know we are here to stay and they can count on us.”
Data from the Upstate New York Poison Center show that in 2021 about 68 percent of cases were managed at home. Of calls related to children under 5 years of age, 90 percent of calls were managed at home. Top poison exposures for children under 5 years of age include personal care products, household cleaning substances and analgesics (medications).
“A poisoning can happen at any time. Many items in and around a home can become poisons if used in the wrong way, by the wrong person, or in the wrong amount including medicine, cleaning products and even make-up,” said Dr. Christine Stork, Clinical Director of the Upstate New York Poison Center. “We urge all families during National Poison Prevention Week to move all medicines up high and out of reach of children, including edible marijuana products and over-the-counter meds.”
The Upstate New York Poison Center offers specific resources for child care centers, in-home safety, seasonal poisoning, safe medication disposal, medication safety and medication safety for older adults, and even information on food and mushrooms, bites and stings and pet safety. The Center has also designed a web-based teacher’s guide, with training for people who want to teach poison prevention (www.upstate.edu/poison/community/teachingtools.php).
“The Upstate New York Poison Center is part of a network ready to answer calls with professionalism, confidentiality and specialized advice,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “If you are in a situation where you know or suspect that a person or pet in your home has ingested or touched something poisonous, do not delay in making that call. The call is answered by certified specialists in poison information – registered nurses and pharmacists with training in toxicology. They will direct you on any immediate actions to take, from watching and waiting, seeking medical care or calling 9-1-1.”
Housed inside Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, the Upstate New York Poison Center is dedicated to reducing the number, cost and severity of poisonings within its designated 54-county service area as mandated by New York State Law. The Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to both health professionals and the general public at 1-800-222-1222.