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Back to School
Summer is almost over. As teachers and students get ready for the school year, keep in mind that not everything at school is as safe as you'd like. Anything can be poisonous if used in the wrong amount, wrong way, or by the wrong person. It's best to be aware of potential poisons in classrooms but we're here to help!

School nurses can call the poison center for:
  • Overdoses
  • Unintentional poisonings
  • Pill identification
  • Treatment advice
  • Symptoms to watch for
  • Advice on when to transport
  • Antidote information and coordination
  • Hazardous materials
  • Information on trends of abuse 

A school nurse called because she unintentionally double dosed an 8 year old with his ADHD medicine. It turns out the mother had given her son the medicine that morning and after confirming the double dose with the boy's parent by phone, the nurse immediately called the poison center.  The poison specialist that she spoke with advised that he could be safely observed at school based on his weight and the dose administered. The specialist called the school nurse later in the day to follow up for any symptoms.
A 25 year old female called the poison center after realizing that she was taking two medicines that both contained acetaminophen. She had a cold and was taking a multi-drug over-the-counter cold medication and was also taking a brand name acetaminophen product for fever every six hours. The poison center specialist calculated the maximum dose of acetaminophen based on the patient's age and weight.  Fortunately, the patient realized the error after only a couple of doses and was able to be safely observed at home with follow up calls from the poison center and a recommendation for increased fluids over the next 24 hours.

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August 2019 Newsletter

What exactly do Poison Centers do?

Every day of the year, every hour of the day, the nation's 55 poison centers help with poisoning emergencies, answer to poison related questions, and provide information to help prevent poisonings. Specially trained poison experts at these centers - nurses, pharmacists, and doctors-can be reached 24 hours a day by calling the toll-free Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222), which connects you to your local poison center.

Poison center history: 

The idea for a poison center came from a part-time secretary from the American Academy of Pediatrics during the early 1950s. The secretary contacted hospitals in Chicago to find out why children were in the emergency room with certain problems. What had they eaten? What did they drink?
At the time, companies did not have to tell people much about the ingredients in their products. The secretary asked companies what ingredients in their products might be making children sick. She then asked a group of medical professionals to set treatment guidelines. When doctors had questions, they would call her, and she would read medical advice to them off note cards.
Soon after, the U.S. Surgeon General ordered copies of her 1,000 index cards to be sent to health departments across the country. From this, the first poison center was founded, and the idea spread throughout the nation.

 Poison Centers provide:
  • Help with a poisoning emergency, which can often be solved over the phone rather than calling 911 or visiting the emergency room.
  • Medical advice for health care professionals and the general public.
  • Real-time de-identified data collection that aids in detecting public health emergencies.
  • Free and confidential help, with interpretation services available in over 100 languages. Services are available throughout the United States and many of its territories.
  • Poison Prevention Poster contest 
  • Free educational material, click here
  • Free educational presentations, click here
The nation's poison centers are locally operated and funded through a combination of state and private sources, as well as congressional mandated federal funds. They are often also supported by a local hospital or university.

What information to have readily available when calling a poison control center?

  • How old is the patient?
  • About how much does the patient weigh?
  • What is the name of the product or substance involved? Be as specific as you can-it can help to have the bottle or packaging with you on the phone. Poison experts use a database that contains detailed information on thousands of products.
  • How much of the substance did the patient swallow, breathe in or get on their skin? If you don't know, the poison specialist will help you estimate.
Based on this information, the poison specialist will tell you what you need to do. It could be as simple as drinking some water or eating a Popsicle. In rare circumstances, they may need to send you to the hospital. If so, they will ask which hospital you are closest to and call ahead to let them know you are coming.
The poison center will also collect a little bit of personal information from you for your medical chart-your first name, the patient's first name, your phone number and the zip code you are calling from.  This information is confidential.  This information is important because it helps us to find your case if you need to call us back for any reason.


For questions or concerns, call the Texas Poison Center Network experts at  1-800-222-1222.  

Want more poison information???
Don't forget to check out the Texas Poison Center Network's blog !