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Top poisonings in 2019 managed by the Upstate New York Poison Center

Mary, a poisoning specialist, answers calls at the poison center

FOR RELEASE: Jan. 6, 2020

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Upstate New York Poison Center saw a busy 2019 with our Certified Specialists in Poison Information (registered nurses & pharmacists) handling 52,602 cases in our 54-county service area in New York. Contributing to this significant case volume, were those cases associated with the vaping crisis. Poison center staff were instrumental in identifying the first vaping cases and developing clinical guidance around managing these cases, providing case management support to health care providers and educating them along with the general public on the dangers of vaping.

Of our more than 52,000 cases in 2019, 35% were related to kids under five years old. Of calls originating from a non-healthcare facility, 91% were managed at home, meaning a person exposed to a poison did not have to rush to a hospital. A majority of cases managed by the poison center came from Onondaga, Erie, Monroe, Orange and Albany counties.

“2019 proved to be a busy year. We not only managed cases attributed to the vaping crisis, but many of our hospital cases involved very sick patients,” says Michele Caliva, administrative director at the Upstate New York Poison Center, “We are following a growing trend around an increase in hospital-based cases. The good news is we are able to manage most of our cases at home, thereby preventing unnecessary hospital visits.”

Top 5 poisonings in 2019 for adults 20 and older:

  1. Analgesics (pain relievers)
  2. Sedative/hypnotics/antipsychotics (sleep aids, tranquilizers)
  3. Antidepressants
  4. Heart medications
  5. Alcohol

Top 5 poisonings in 2019 for children 5 or younger:

  1. Cosmetics/personal care products
  2. Household cleaning products
  3. Analgesics (pain relievers)
  4. Foreign objects (batteries, toy parts, food products, etc.)
  5. Topical preps (diaper ointment, pain relief cream, hydrocortisone)

 Poison prevention tips:

  • Keep medicines and household products locked up, where children cannot see or reach them
  • Store poisons in their original containers
  • Use child-resistant packaging, but remember nothing is child-proof
  • Read the label and follow the directions on medicines and products
  • Children learn by imitation. Take your medicines where children can’t watch
  • Poisons can look like food or drink. Teach child to ask an adult before eating or drinking anything

In the case of a poisoning or for information purposes, call the Upstate New York Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. We are open 24/7, 365 days a year. Each year our center manages more than 50,000 calls from health care providers, 911 operators, hospitals, industry, schools, and the general public in our 54-county service area.

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About Upstate New York Poison Center

Housed inside Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, the Upstate New York Poison Center is dedicated to reducing the number, cost and severity of poisonings within its designated 54-county service area as mandated by New York State Law. The Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to both health professionals and the general public at 1-800-222-1222.

About Upstate Medical University

SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, is the only academic medical center in Central New York. It is also the region's largest employer with 9,460 employees. Affiliated with the State University of New York, Upstate's mission is to improve the health of the community through education, biomedical research and health care.