By: Yuritza Arroyo
The New Jersey Poison Control Center and poison control centers around the country celebrate National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW), observed this year on March 19-25th.
According to officials, this week is dedicated to promoting the importance of recognizing accidental poisoning risks, preventing injuries, and raising awareness about the life-saving services the nation’s network of 55 poison control centers provide to callers on the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222
“When life happens, calling your local poison control center for help can make a difference between a mild health effect and a serious one,” says Bruce Ruck, managing director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
“Our medical staff’s expertise and fast response provide callers with the medical help they need right at home,” says Ruck.
“Most callers never need to go to the emergency room or spend money on medical costs.”
Guessing whether a concern is a medical emergency, waiting for symptoms to appear, or wasting time searching for medical information online can delay medical treatment and lead to more severe health effects.
In celebrating this important injury prevention week, the NJ Poison Control Center, together with Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH), invite the public to attend the 2023 National Poison Prevention Week Health and Safety Resource Fair on Saturday, March 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Middlesex County Fire Academy in Sayreville.
Through this event, attendees will learn safety practices to prevent accidental poisoning and the importance of contacting the NJ Poison Control Center if someone has come into contact with a potentially dangerous product or substance.
The state’s poison control center and CSH recognize that everyone should have access to information and resources to be healthy and safe.
The event includes specific health and safety needs of people with disabilities and special health needs. See event details here.
Community agencies and organizations interested in tabling at the 2023 National Poison Prevention Week Health and Safety Resource Fair can register here.
The Poison Help line is available anywhere in the U.S. and connects callers to their local poison control center.
Toxicology specialists, including nurses, pharmacists, and physicians, provide callers with free, private/confidential medical advice 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Although you may not have a question or emergency now, save the Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222) as an emergency contact in your phone for a future concern — you may save a life
“When people first think of a poison control center, they may believe our services only apply to little ones who get into cleaners under the sink or older adults who mix up their medicines,” says Ruck.
“Our poison control center helps callers of all ages, in many languages, and for all types of poisoning exposures every day.”
Accidents and mishaps often involve common products and substances found in our everyday environments besides medicines and chemicals.
Other risks include recreational drugs (cannabis/marijuana edibles, vape liquids, and alcohol), food poisoning, bites and stings, carbon monoxide, medicine/substance overdose, toxic plants, and foreign bodies (coins, magnets, and batteries).
Along with helping the public, poison control center staff regularly consult with medical and emergency service providers in hospital emergency departments and healthcare facilities across the state to assist in diagnosing and treating patients.
Studies show patients hospitalized after a poisoning exposure with poison control center assistance spends fewer days in the hospital than patients hospitalized without poison control center assistance.
There’s something for everyone!
The poison control center’s education department is available to provide poison safety programs and prevention education materials and attend community events. Submit requests here for community programs and education materials.
If you think someone has come in contact with something dangerous, contact your local poison control center immediately for medical treatment advice.
Anyone can call for medical help – children, teens, and adults. Poison control centers are a medical resource for the public and healthcare providers. Get help 24/7.