Poison Control: Your Resource for Poison Help You Asked for Help. We Provided Expert Guidance

The Bottom Line

What do people ask about when they contact Poison Control? Rest assured, Poison Control is the trusted, expert resource for all kinds of questions about poison. Remember, all questions about poison are smart questions.

The Full Story

What kind of questions does Poison Control answer?  Here are a few sample questions and Poison Control's response:

  • “I went to answer the phone and my 3-year-old took a swig of lamp oil.” Lamp oil can cause severe or even fatal pneumonia. But if the child is not coughing or choking right after swallowing it, undoubtedly it's all in the stomach instead of the airway, and emergency room (ER) evaluation is unnecessary.
  • “My 15-month-old daughter drank some glue remover for artificial nails.  It’s not like her to nap in the afternoon.  Should I wake her up?" Acetonitrile is sometimes used to remove artificial nails. It's metabolized to cyanide in the body and therefore can be deadly. This child needs to be taken by ambulance to the ER right away!!
  • “I just drank from a bottle of Gatorade, but the liquid inside tasted funny.  After I swallowed, my husband told me he had poured leftover windshield wiper fluid into the once-empty bottle to later store in the garage." Windshield wiper fluid may contain methanol – a deadly alcohol that causes blindness and coma.  This woman was sent straight to the ER for the antidote. Container transfer is implicated in some of the most serious unintentional poisonings.
  • “I had grapefruit juice for breakfast.  On the way to work I heard on the news that I can’t drink grapefruit juice if I’m taking Procardia®.  Should I go to the emergency room?” Grapefruit juice interacts with Procardia® by interfering with its metabolism, leading to higher drug levels. He should avoid grapefruit juice in the future, but ER treatment is not required now.
  • "There's an overturned truck on the highway, traffic is backed up for miles, and an unidentified liquid is dripping out." Poison Control helped identify the spilled chemical, then provided toxicity, health effects, and treatment information to the hazardous materials team on the scene, stressing the importance of getting traffic moving immediately to minimize bystander exposure.

If you suspect someone has been poisoned, use the webPOISONCONTROL® tool for guidance or call 1-800-222-1222

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