Quiz: Reasons to Call the Drug & Poison Info Center

This week is National Poison Prevention Week! And while it’s a perfect time to raise awareness about the dangers of certain substances and how to avoid ingesting them, the information gleaned from the week is important to be cognizant of all year long.

That’s because the vast majority of poisonings that we receive calls about are unintentional exposures. So being aware of what to do when the unexpected happens – before it happens – can be beneficial in the long run. No one plans for an accident to happen, but there are steps you can take to minimize the chances of something happening, and keeping the Drug & Poison Info Center (DPIC) number (1-800-222-1222) handy can do a couple of things: save you time in an emergency, and help you decide next steps to take.

In honor of the week, I compiled all of the calls we’ve received over the last year and created a quiz to help folks understand the ways in which we can help them in the future. The bottom line is that if you have a question related to a potentially dangerous exposure – we’re only a phone call away to help answer it.

Quiz: Reasons to call the DPIC phone number:

1. The most common reason people call the Cincinnati DPIC is to ask a question related to an exposure of:

a. Cosmetics and personal care products, like makeup, shampoo, etc.
b. Pesticides
c. Plants

Answer: A. We receive the most calls related to cosmetics and personal care items. Often when we receive a call like this, it’s because a young child has gotten into makeup. Typically makeup is left in easily accessible areas like a purse or on a countertop, making it easier for an unintentional exposure to occur. It’s important to note, though, that while cosmetics are what we get asked about most frequently, we’ve received questions about all of the above topics (and are happy to answer them!).

2. The second-most common reason people call the Cincinnati DPIC is to ask a question related to an exposure of:

a. Antihistamines
b. Vitamins
c. Cleaning substances

Answer: C. Cleaning substances are what we get asked about the second-most often. Usually parents are calling about this because a child has accessed a low cabinet with cleaning supplies or a product that was accidentally left out during cleaning. All of the options, however, are topics that we can and have answered at DPIC.

3. Which of the below topics have we received questions about?

a. Snake bites
b. Chemistry class spills
c. Children eating dog poop
d. Inhaling fumes
e. Splashing a chemical in the eyes
f. All of the above

Answer: F. In the last year we’ve received calls about snake bites, chemistry class spills, inhalation exposures, eye exposures and yes, even dog poop ingestions! I shared this one because I’d like for families to know that there really isn’t a question that is too off the wall for us to answer – if you’re concerned, please call us!

4. The age group we receive the most questions about are:

a. Seniors ages 70-79
b. Young children ages 1-2
c. Teens ages 13-19

Answer: B. We receive the most calls related to the youngest of kids ages 1-2. Children in this age group are curious and constantly exploring their environment, making them more likely to get into something they shouldn’t.

Sure, we’re here to answer those questions, but we’re also available to help with exposures to anything under the sun, such as drug interactions, adverse reactions, substance abuse trends, etc. Please call us whenever you have a question about a drug or poison, as our poison specialists are available to answer questions 24/7.

Sheila Goertemoeller, PharmD, D.ABAT

About the Author: Sheila Goertemoeller, PharmD, D.ABAT

Sheila Goertemoeller PharmD, DABAT, ICPS is a pharmacist and clinical toxicologist with 22 years of experience at the Drug and Poison Information Center Hotline at Cincinnati Children’s.

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