Poisonings are More Common Than You Realize

Poisoning is the top cause of injury-related death in the United States.  In 2016, 55 US poison control centers provided telephone guidance for nearly 2.159 million human poison exposures.  That is about:

  • 6.6 Poison Exposures/1000 population
  • 41.3 Poison Exposures in Children Younger than 6 Years/1000 Children
  • 1 Poison Exposure Reported to US poison control centers every 14.6 seconds

Stay informed to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from common poisonings.

Poison Prevention Week

Who’s Most at Risk for Poisonings?

  • Children under 6 years of age account for half (50%) of all poison exposures.  
  • Adults, 21 years and older, account for 92% of all poisoning deaths.

What are the Top 5 Causes of Poisoning?

  • Painkillers
  • Cosmetics or Personal Products
  • Household Cleaning Products
  • Sedatives, Hypnotics, and Antipsychotic Medicine
  • Foreign Bodies, Toys and Other Objects

Who Do You Call for a Poisoning Emergency?

The Poison Help Line–1-800-222-1222–is available in all 50 states, and connects you to your local poison center.  It is staffed with nurses, pharmacists, doctors, and poison experts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to give you free and confidential advice from how to handle an emergency to how to protect your family from poison dangers.  To learn more, visit www.poisonhelp.hrsa.gov.

What steps should you take for a poisoning emergency?

  • Call the Poison Help line —1-800-222-1222— if someone you know may have been poisoned
  • Don’t Wait for Signs of Poisoning Before Calling
  • Stay Calm – Not All Contact with Poisons Result in Poisoning
  • Locate Item You Think May Have Caused Poisoning
  • Call 911 if someone is unconscious or has trouble breathing
  • If the person inhaled poison, get him or her fresh air right away
  • If the person has poison on the skin, take off any clothing the poison touched, and rinse skin with running water for 10-20 minutes
  • If the person has poison in the eyes, rinse eyes with running water for 15-20 minutes

What can you do to prepare yourself for a poisoning emergency?

  • Keep all Health Information for Every Family Member on Hand
  • Program the Poison Help Line Phone Number into Your Cell and Home Phones
  • Share This Information with Family and Friends
  • Read the Poison Help Brochure for More Information




  1. https://www.poison.org/poison-statistics-national
  2. https://poisonhelp.hrsa.gov/resources/materials/infographic.html
  3. https://poisonhelp.hrsa.gov/what-can-you-do/emergency-checklist/index.html


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The Emergency Center

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11320 Alamo Ranch Pkwy
San Antonio, TX 78253

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