Poison control call centers are staffed by medical professionals, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists who are specially trained to assist in poisoning emergencies. Keep the number handy in case of an emergency.
Calling Poison Control
The National Capital Poison Center can be reached from anywhere in the U.S. by calling:
This number automatically connects callers to their local poison control center based on area code and origination phone number, and it is available for free 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Local Center Numbers
While it is best to call the 800 number when you need assistance, you can also locate and call the poison control center closest to you by going to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) website and using the convenient local center locator tool.
It is a wise idea for parents to keep both the national and local poison control numbers available in case there are connection problems or technical issues that prevent an emergency call from being properly received.
Nationwide, more than one million calls are made to poison control centers each year, and more than half of those calls concern children under the age of five. By properly using the phone number and knowing when a call is necessary, accidental poisonings need not have tragic results.
Calling Poison Control
If you think you or another person in your presence has been poisoned, call the number. Before calling the poison control center, there are a few things you need to do:
- Determine if emergency services are needed, and call paramedics or 911 if necessary first.
- Remove excess poison or chemicals by flushing skin and eyes with cool water, moving a victim to an area with fresh air, wiping out the mouth, or removing contaminated clothing.
- Find the chemical bottle for reference.
When calling the poison control center, it is vital to have enough information available for the specialist to provide proper advice. Callers should know the following:
- The victim's age and weight, both of which can affect how quickly poisons operate
- The precise item ingested - refer to the bottle's label for the exact name and ingredients
- An approximation of the amount of poison ingested
- How long ago the poison was ingested
- The condition of the victim - groggy, hyperactive, nauseous, etc.
- How the victim was exposed - ingestion, vapors, skin contact, etc.
- Any medical concerns, such as allergies or medication the victim is taking, that could interfere with the poison or treatment
Remain calm and provide the specialist with as much information as possible, including a callback number in case the call is disconnected.
In Case of Emergency
The poison control phone number - 1-800-222-1222 - is a toll-free, emergency number to use in case of accidental poisonings. Keep the number near all phones. By knowing how to use the toll-free number and how to react in case of accidental poisonings, you can avoid serious injuries.