Frequently Asked Questions
How do I reach the Kansas Poison Center?
Calling 1-800-222-1222 from anywhere in the United States will connect you directly to your local poison center.
Is there a National Poison Center?
No, poison centers are local services. Currently, there are 55 regional poison centers in the United States. Some states have more than 1 poison center. Other states do not have a poison center located in their state but receive services from a regional poison center with which their state contracts.
Does it cost money to use the Poison Help line?
No! All calls to the Poison Help line are free and nearly 7 out of 10 calls are safely managed at home, saving time and money.
Who do I talk to when I call the Poison Help line?
What kind of calls does the poison center get?
People call the poison center for a variety of reasons. We help with calls about:
- Medicines and drugs (i.e. prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, supplements, illegal/recreational or veterinary)
- Household and personal care products
- Chemicals and pesticides (at home and work)
- Plants (i.e., mushrooms, indoor and outdoor plants)
- Bites and stings (i.e., insects, snakes)
- Gasses and fumes
- Food poisoning
- Questions about adverse or unexpected reactions to medicines or products
Call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 as soon as you suspect a poisoning or overdose.
Can I call with a question, or does it have to be an emergency?
You should call the Poison Help line when you think someone may have been in contact with a poison, but you can also call with questions. All questions about poisonings are good questions.
Should I wait for symptoms or signs of poisoning before calling the Poison Help line?
If you think someone has been poisoned, call the Poison Help line right away – do not wait for them to start showing signs or symptoms. A poisoned person may or may not look, act or feel sick. Our expertly trained poison specialists – nurses or pharmacists – will let you know what to expect and provide treatment information over the phone.
If I swallow a poison, should I make myself throw up?
If you’ve swallowed something poisonous or harmful, do not make yourself throw up. Call the Poison Help line right away. Don't give syrup of ipecac or do anything to induce vomiting. Expert
groups, including the America’s Poison Centers and the American Academy of Pediatrics , no longer endorse using syrup of ipecac in children or adults. No good evidence proves its effectiveness, and it often can do more harm than good. If you still have old bottles of syrup of ipecac in your home, throw them away.
Are poison centers just for caregivers of young children?
Poisonings can happen to anyone, and poison centers are for everyone. Nearly half of the calls to poison centers do involve young children, but the more serious exposures often involve teens, adults and older adults.
With so much information online, can’t I use the internet to find answers to my poisoning or overdose problem?
While you can find a lot of information on the internet, it isn’t always correct or from a reliable source. You can also waste precious time searching. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or have a question, call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Our specialists are available 24/7 for fast, free, expert help. Many factors determine a person’s risk and treatment of poisoning including:
- Product and the amount
- Age and weight
- Any health conditions or medications being taken
Every poisoning is different, make the call!
Will the poison center report me if I call too often?
Helping callers is our main concern, and we understand that accidents happen. We do not have a “bad parent” or “frequent caller” list. We receive nearly 60 to 80 calls a day, and unless you tell us you have called before, we won’t know.
Isn’t it better to call my doctor’s office in a poison emergency?
Our specially trained poison experts – nurses, pharmacists and physicians – can be reached 24 hours a day. Even healthcare professionals who are seeking treatment advice for their patients consult with the poison center experts (nearly ¼ of the calls to the Kansas Poison Center come from healthcare providers). Save time and call the Poison Help line first.
Does the Poison Help line deal with animal poisonings?
Some poison centers do provide basic pet poisoning information, but the best information can often be obtained from your veterinarian or an animal poison center. Call or visit the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 or Pet Poison Help line at 855-764-7661.