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Know What To Do For A Poisoning

If someone gets ‘poisoned’, call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.  The poison center will take any call about a human poisoning.  But ‘poisoning’ is complicated.  It’s a medical term for when your body becomes sick from some substance that is a toxin or a poison.  Almost any substance can be poisonous if taken in the wrong amount, or by the wrong person.  You can be exposed to poisons by eating or drinking them, getting them in your eyes or on your skin, or breathing them in.

Poison centers are for all ages: children, pre-teens, teens, young adults, adults, and seniors.  Our service is for both the general public and health care providers like your own doctor or nurse. You can call about poisoning at home or work. The call is always free and confidential.

When you call the poison center, the nurse or pharmacist will ask you several of the following questions:

  • Person’s name and your phone number – This is done to create a medical record and allows the poison center to follow up by telephone.
  • Person’s age and weight – Many poisons affect children differently than adults.
  • What happened – Was it inhaled? Swallowed?  Did it get on the skin or in the eyes?
  • Information from the label – Bring the container to the phone with you.
  • Person’s medical history – This helps to determine the poisoning risk.
  • What time did it happen?
  • Does the person have symptoms?

You can trust your call is a private conversation between you and the nurse or pharmacist handling your case.  The poison center will help you any time day or night.


First Aid for Poisoning

  • Has the person collapsed or stopped breathing?
    • Call 911
  • Swallowed something poisonous or the wrong medicine or too much medicine?
  • Poison in the eyes?
    • Rinse eyes with running water for 5 minutes.
    • Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222
  • Poison on the skin?
    • Take off any clothing that the poison touched.
    • Rinse skin with running water for 5 to 10 minutes.
    • Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222
  • Inhaled poison?
    • Get to fresh air right away.
    • Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 

Do we make them vomit?

  • No, never make a person vomit.
  • Syrup of Ipecac is no longer used or recommended.
  • Salt is not a safe alternative for making a person vomit.

Don’t Guess, Be Sure. If you have a question about a poisoning call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.  The Missouri Poison Center is available 24-7-365 to help answer any questions you may have.

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