pictures of pills, cleaning supplies and a poisonous plant.

Poison Control

COVID-19 and Poison Prevention: Staying Safe While Staying Home

During the COVID-19 outbreak, families are together at home and are using more cleaning products and medicines. This puts people at an increased risk of a medication error or unintentional overdose.

Do not ingest or inject Lysol or any other disinfectant as a treatment for COVID-19. Household disinfectants are poisonous and can cause serious harm or even death if swallowed or injected.

Also, do not use products or medicines promoted as "anti-COVID-19" unless approved by your health care provider. Some unapproved products have led to serious illness and death. The Poison Control Center can answer your questions about the safe use of products, medicines and other poisons.

A poison is anything that can make you sick or kill you if you eat it, drink it, breath it in, get it on your skin or get it in your eyes.

If someone has been potentially exposed to a poison and is awake and alert, you should call the NYC Poison Control Center immediately, even if there are no symptoms of poisoning. For ingested poisons, do not try to make the person throw up. If the person is unconscious, convulsing, having seizures or having trouble breathing, call 911.

NYC Poison Control Center

The Poison Control Center is available 24/7 and has translation services in more than 150 languages. All calls are free and confidential. Registered pharmacists and nurses certified in poison information can provide treatment advice and information about potential poisons and medicine safety. When you call the center, they will ask you:

  • Your name and the name of the person poisoned
  • The telephone number you are calling from
  • The age and weight of the person poisoned
  • The name and amount of the product or substance involved
  • How long ago the poisoning happened
  • Any symptoms the poisoned person is having

To contact the NYC Poison Control Center, call 212-POISONS (212-764-7667).

Ingestion (swallowing) is the most common way that poisonings happen. Poisonings can also happen through inhalation, dermal (on the skin contact), or ocular (in the eyes). Learn more about common poisons and the City’s resources to help you be safe:

Community-based organizations (or individuals) can request free multilingual poison prevention and medicine safety materials or workshops through our Community Education Training Programs.

Medical professionals can also learn more about medical toxicology through the Visiting Resident Toxicology Rotation at the NYC Poison Control Center or through joining our monthly Consultants' Conference and Grand Rounds presentations.

Virtual Toxicology Conference

Every year in March, the New York City Poison Control Center and the NYU Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine host a three-day toxicology conference. This year, we’ve adapted the format, details and agenda due to the COVID-19 pandemic and condensed the conference to one full day of exciting clinical learning on a virtual platform.

This clinical course, instructed by the dynamic faculty from the NYC PCC and the NYU Department of Emergency Medicine, is intended for healthcare professionals who have an interest in the exciting world of medical toxicology. The course will offer participants the opportunity to engage in challenging interactive toxicology scenarios and provide an analysis of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the landscape of poisoning and the work of toxicologists and the Poison Control Center. Participants will learn about toxins that became increasingly common because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the evaluation and treatment of these patients.

The course will be held remotely March 25 from 9:40 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. To register and learn more, visit Toxicology in the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Lessons Can We Learn?.

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