Put poison control’s phone number on the back of your cell phone, on your cell phone case, and on your wall phone. Put it everywhere: 1–800-222-1222.
Did your toddler eat dog food? Or a berry from your backyard bush? Did you give the wrong medication to your child? Call poison control. Experts at poison control will direct your next step. They have access to extensive data on poisoning, and they can give you that information much quicker than a drug-manufacturer or pharmacist or even your own doctor. One of Dr. Lai’s kids ate a mushroom from the yard when she was 20 months old—she called poison control. A mom asked Dr. Lai about carbon monoxide exposure—she called poison control. If doctors have a question about any ingestion or poisoning—we call poison control. But don’t wait for us to call, go ahead yourself and call.
People often first jump to the internet for information. However, a recent small study found that the internet is NOT the best place to research questions about toxins. Many sites fail to direct readers to the US Poison Control Center, and those who do, fail to supply the proper phone number – again, that’s 1–800-222-1222.
If your child needs emergent treatment, surfing the internet for what to do next wastes precious time. Don’t reach for your phone to “google it,” in the case of a possible poisoning, reach for your phone and make a CALL. It could be life-saving.
Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
© 2014 Two Peds in a Pod®