Press Release

American Association of Poison Control Centers Encourages the Public to Utilize the Poison Help Line During Winter Storm Jonas

January 24, 2016 | Download PDF

ALEXANDRIA, VA – As millions of Americans prepare for a massive winter storm this weekend, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) wants to remind the public that all of the nation’s 55 poison centers will be open and prepared to answer questions and provide treatment advice to people of all ages who have been exposed to potentially toxic substances.

“The impact of winter storms can be severe and long-lasting,” said Stephen T. Kaminski, JD, AAPCC CEO and Executive Director. “In addition to low temperatures, high winds, and driving hazards, winter storms also bring the possibility of unintentional poisoning exposures. However, one easy thing you can do to prepare for a poisoning emergency is saving the Poison Help number, 1-800-222-1222, in your mobile telephone, and posting it in a visible place in your home.”

The experts at poison centers provide free and confidential information and treatment advice 24 hours per day, seven days a week, year-round. “In addition to managing and tracking exposures during public health crises, poison centers also have the capacity to respond quickly during weather emergencies,” said Elizabeth J. Scharman, Pharm.D, DABAT, BCPS, FAACT and Director of the West Virginia Poison Center. “Despite the forecasted severity of the upcoming winter storm, poison center experts will be hard at work managing the public’s poison emergencies and questions.”

The experts at poison centers are especially concerned about the increased risk of carbon monoxide exposures during winter storms. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year hundreds of Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized. Carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas, is released through defective generators, gas furnaces and heaters, gasoline-powered vehicles and equipment, and other fuel-burning appliances. These devices should never be used inside your home, basement, garage, or unventilated areas. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. If you experience any of these symptoms, call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

For more winter poison prevention tips and resources, visit AAPCC’s Winter Poison Prevention webpage at http://www.aapcc.org/prevention/winter-poison-safety/.

For more information, the media may contact Angela Gonzales, AAPCC Associate Manager, Communications and Outreach, at 703-894-1865 or gonzales@aapcc.org.

AAPCC supports the nation’s 55 poison center members in their efforts to treat and prevent drug, consumer product, animal, environmental and food poisoning. Members staff the Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 that provides free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from toxicology specialists, including nurses, pharmacists, physicians and poison information providers. In addition, AAPCC maintains the only poison information and surveillance database in the United States, providing real-time monitoring of unusual poisoning patterns, chemical exposures and other emerging public health hazards. AAPCC partners with federal agencies such as HRSA, CDC, FDA and EPA, as well as private industry.

To learn more, visit www.aapcc.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@AAPCC).

For More Information

  • Edward V. Walrod

    • Associate Manager for Media and Public Relations
    • Email: media at aapcc dot org
    • 703-894-1863

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