Author: Sherrie Pace
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Poison Control Center (UPCC) will join poison centers and safety advocates across the country in celebrating National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW), March 19-25, 2023. The week is dedicated to raising awareness about poisoning and highlighting ways to prevent poison exposures. During NPPW, UPCC wants to remind the public that when poison happens, we’re here for you!
Poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States, but there are steps we can take to prevent poisonings. The UPCC manages over 40,000 poison cases each year. While over 50% of exposures in Utah involve children 5 years old or younger, poisonings can happen to anyone at any age. The number one poison exposure for all ages in Utah is pain medicine. Most of these are common drugs you can buy over-the-counter without a prescription.
When you suspect a poisoning, or even if you just have a poison related question, it is quick and easy to get help. “When you call the poison control center, you will be talking with a health care professional who will help you with your specific situation,” said Amberly Johnson, UPCC Director. “Just pick up the phone and call. It is tempting to search the internet for answers, but when there is a poison emergency, every second counts. Don’t waste valuable time searching online for information that could be incorrect or even dangerous. The poison center provides free, expert, and confidential medical advice anytime day or night.”
The poison center also provides educational outreach to inform the public about poison dangers and ways to prevent a poisoning. “It is important for people to take steps to prevent poisonings. Making poison safety a year-round priority will go a long way in helping to decrease poison exposures,” Johnson said. To help prevent poisonings, UPCC offers the following tips:
- Be prepared for a poison emergency. Keep the poison control phone number at your fingertips by saving it in your cell phone. Save the number…someday it may save you back. 1-800-222-1222
- Practice safe storage. Always store medicines and hazardous products up and away from children. Keep them in their original, child-resistant containers.
- Read and follow directions. Review instructions on prescription and over-the-counter medicine and on all other product labels before using them.
- Dispose of unused or expired medication: Take these medications to a drop-box location to dispose of them safely.
- Detect invisible threats. Have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home.
The UPCC has a variety of poison prevention tools to help keep you and your family safe. Visit the UPCC website utahpoisoncontrol.org to access resources for all ages. Follow NPPW on social media at #NPPW23. Connect with UPCC on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram @utahpoison during NPPW and throughout the year for messages, alerts, and tips.
About the Utah Poison Control Center
The UPCC is a 24-hour resource for poison information, clinical toxicology consultation, and poison prevention education. The UPCC is a program of the State of Utah and is administratively housed in the University of Utah, College of Pharmacy. The UPCC is nationally certified as a regional poison control center.