Protect Yourself and Your Family From Poisons!

February 13, 2003

National Poison Prevention Week, March 16-22

Did your child taste a household cleaner or eat a poisonous plant? Did your grandmother take an extra dose of medicine?  Do you think you've been exposed to carbon monoxide fumes?

Everyone is at risk for a poisoning exposure, from infants to older adults, college students to parents, city dwellers to residents of rural areas.  Poisons come in many forms and we come in contact with many of them on a daily basis. 

Be prepared for poisoning emergencies by posting the Illinois Poison Center's (IPC) toll-free number, 1-800-222-1222, on each phone in your house or in a convenient location.  The IPC provides free, confidential poison prevention advice and treatment recommendations, 24 hours a day. The IPC accepts calls from the general public and health care professionals on household products, herbal products, medication overdoses, adverse reactions to medications, alcohol or drug misuse, venomous bites, occupational accidents, chemical spills and other poisonings.

How Safe is Your Home?
Poisons are found all around us - in our homes, garages, backyards and purses.  Most poisonings are accidental and can be prevented.  Follow these poison prevention tips to make your home a safer place:
* Make sure all potential poisons are properly stored and kept out of the reach of small children and pets.  Potential poisons can include household cleaners, cosmetics, medicines, pesticides and items used for home repair, among others.
* Use child-resistant safety locks on cabinets.
* Keep medicine and household products in their original containers with original labels.
* Always read labels before using medicine, cleaners and other products.
* Place IPC telephone stickers on or near your phones and call whenever you have a problem or question. If you think a poisoning has occurred, call immediately.  Do not wait for symptoms to appear. 

Call the IPC at 1-800-222-1222 or visit the IPC Web site at to order a free information packet, including IPC telephone stickers, a refrigerator magnet, a poison prevention brochure, a list of toxic plants and more.

The IPC is a program of the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC), an association of more than 130 hospitals and health care organizations working together to improve the quality of health care services.

Promote Safety from Unintentional Poisonings in Your Home and Community. Support Your Poison Control Centers.   The Illinois Poison Control Center telephone number is (800) 222-1222.

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