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Poison Control

Common Poisonings
There are some basic, common poisoning risks to be aware of, including:

  • cleaning products
  • vitamins and food supplements, like minerals and herbs
  • medicines
  • cigarettes and cigarette butts
  • beauty products, perfumes, and nail polish removers
  • carbon monoxide gas (CO) (usually from cars and heating devices)
  • insect sprays, weed killers, and plant food
  • liquids used in cars (such as antifreeze, wiper fluid, and motor oil)
  • paint and paint-removal products
  • plants in the house and yard
  • animal bites and stings

Poison Prevention Tips
There are many easy steps you can take to prevent poisonings. Lots of these are quick and easy, and go a long way toward preventing poisonings. For example:

  • Never mix household and chemical products together. A poisonous gas may be created when mixing chemicals.
  • DO NOT use food containers such as cups or bottles to store household and chemical products.
  • Read and follow the directions and warnings on the label before taking any medicine. If you have any questions about the intended use of your medicine, contact your doctor.
  • Never share prescription medicines. Medicines should be taken by the person prescribed and for the reason prescribed.

What to do in a Poisoning Emergency
Follow these basic steps at the first sign of a poisoning:

  • The person inhaled poison.
  • Get to fresh air right away.
  • Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222).
  • The person has poison on the skin.
  • Take off any clothing the poison touched.
  • Rinse skin with running water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222).
  • The person has poison in the eyes.
  • Rinse eyes with running water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222).

In some cases, you should not try to give first aid. You will need to call the experts fast if:

  • The person swallowed the wrong medicine or too much medicine.
  • Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222).
  • The person has collapsed or stopped breathing.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number


National Capital Poison Center
CDC Unintentional Poisoning
American Association of Poison Control Centers

[courtesy of The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)]