U.S. poison control centers have reached an astonishing milestone: 1 million COVID-19 cases. The free services offered through the Poison Help Hotline (1-800-222-1222) remain vital in public health efforts to respond and answer questions related to information, preventative measures, and vaccines for COVID-19 cases. When medically appropriate, the treatment advice provided by specially trained professionals keeps patients at home, saving millions in medical expenses.
Poison center specialists have increasingly responded to information and chemical exposure cases related to cleaning and disinfecting products, including hand sanitizer. Centers have also assisted local health agencies by providing triage services through local COVID-19 Hotlines.
New Jersey was one of the first states impacted by the devastating effects of the Coronavirus. “Although we’ve operated many emergent health hotlines in the past, none would compare to the challenges that lay ahead. Calls to the hotline exceeded initial expectations. Volume quickly soared and remained at unprecedented levels for months on end”, said Dr. Diane Calello, Executive and Medical Director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “We were receiving around 1,000 COVID calls a day up until the beginning of summer. Throughout the year, we’ve continued to experience intense surges in call volume requiring every member of our staff to ensure the hotline remained accessible to those in need”, said Dr. Bruce Ruck, Managing Director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
Surpassing 1 million cases reinforces the importance of AAPCC’s pledge to assist during public health emergencies and mitigate poisonings related to COVID-19. During the surge of COVID-19 cases, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) supported members with surveillance and outreach efforts to track and reduce the spread of the Coronavirus.
Four ways to prepare, prevent, and protect against poisoning:
1. Text POISON to 797979 to save the Poison Help Hotline as a contact in your mobile phone.
2. Save the Poison Help Hotline number, 1-800-222-1222, into your mobile phone.
3. Display the Poison Help Hotline contact number throughout your home.
4. Get Info: