Safe Kids Carroll: With Poison Prevention Week approaching, some tips to stay safe

Growing up, you are always taught to call 911 in case of an emergency. However, when a situation is serious but not an emergency, how do you know who to call?

Use these guidelines below to ensure that you are making the right call. Safe Kids Carroll County and the Maryland Poison Center want to remind you of what to do in case there is a poisoning as we approach Poison Prevention Week (March 17-23).


Call 911 if the person …

  • Is not awake and you can’t wake them;
  • Is not breathing or is having trouble breathing;
  • Has difficulty swallowing or is drooling;
  • Is having seizures.

Call the Poison Center if you or someone you are with …

  • Makes a medicine mistake;
  • Makes a mistake with a personal care or household product;
  • Is bitten or stung by a critter;
  • Eats a berry, mushroom, or plant from the yard or woods;
  • Has questions about substance abuse;
  • Has questions about food poisoning.

Call your doctor if …

  • You need information about why you are taking a specific medicine;
  • You want to know if you can stop taking a current medicine or if it is OK to start taking a new medicine;
  • You need treatment for a non-urgent medical issue, such as a cold or the flu;

Call your pharmacist if you need information about …

  • Generic substitutes for a medicine you are taking;
  • Drug interactions;
  • Special instructions for taking your medicine;
  • Taking an over-the-counter medicine, vitamin, or supplement along with your current medicines.

According to the Maryland Poison Center’s 2017 Annual Report, there were 42,604 calls made throughout the state. Of these, 32,164 were for human exposures, 9,305 were for information requests, and 1,135 were for animal poisonings. Of the 42,604 calls made, Carroll County accounted for 1,073 of them.

Poison centers are staffed by trained nurses and pharmacists. They can be reached at any time by calling 1-800-222-1222 anywhere within the United States. A poison specialist will determine if the situation can be managed safely at home or if the individual should be taken to the hospital. The staff will determine the best transportation method and will also notify the hospital of the patient’s arrival.

This information provided should help you make the right call when you are in need of medical assistance. Just remember, the only wrong call is the call you don’t make. You should never wait to see what happens or rely on information found online.

For more information, visit the MD Poison Center at Follow the MPC on Facebook, Twitter, e-Antidote blog. Text “poison” to 797979 to save the contact info for the poison center in your smartphone.