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About the Poison Center

365 days a year, 24/7.

We are available to both healthcare professionals and the general public at 1-800-222-1222.

What is the Upstate New York Poison Center?

The number to call with a poison emergency or for poison prevention information with:

  • Poison emergency telephone management
  • Poison information resources
  • Public education
  • Professional education
  • Research and data collection
  • Toxicosurveillance in real time

What To Do If A Poisoning Happens?

  • Take the product to the phone (Take the child if s/he is the patient)
  • Call the Upstate New York Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222

  • A Poison Information Specialist will ask you some questions, including:
    • Your name and phone number
    • Age and weight of patient
    • Name on container of product
    • Amount involved
    • Time of poisoning
    • Any symptoms

  • The poison center will tell you what to do next

Who Will Answer My Call?

Every caller receives professional expert service:

  • Calls are answered by Specialists in Poison Information (SPIs), registered nurses and pharmacists trained in toxicology
  • Specialists provide the most efficient and up-to-date poison information available
  • Physicians and toxicologists are on-call 24 hours a day for consultation purposes
  • Other specialists are available for consultation

What to Expect?

After careful listening, the Poison Specialist will generally tell you one of the following:

  • This is not a problem, there is no need for medical care
    (e.g., A child ate some silica gel crystals found in a shoe box)
  • The history you provided requires the patient be observed for a period of time to be sure s/he will be okay (The SPI will call back to check on the patient and no medical care is expected)
  • Based on history provided, a trip to a physician or healthcare facility is necessary
    (The SPI can arrange for an emergency transport if caller agrees)

How Do We Help?

Each year our center manages over 80,000 calls from health care providers, 911 operators, hospitals, industry, schools, and the general public in our 54-county service area. Of these calls:

  • 85% are unintentional poisonings
  • 43% involve children under age 5
  • 15% are for information only
  • 31% come from healthcare facilities
  • 82% can be managed over the phone and do not require a visit to a doctor and/or a hospital

Why Centralized Service?

Poison Centers save money while saving lives. Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its National Center for Disease Control concluded:

  • For every $1 spent on poison centers, $33 in medical costs are saved
  • The average cost to the health care system of a poisoning exposure call is $31.28, while the average cost, if other parts of the medical system are involved in a poisoning emergency, is $932

We're only a phone call away: 1-800-222-1222!

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