What is a poison?

A poison is anything that can make you sick or kill you if you:

  • eat it
  • drink it
  • breathe it
  • get it on your skin or
  • in your eyes

Many household products and plants are poisons. Children, older people and pets are most at risk-but people of all ages can get poisoned!

You can Prevent Poisonings

  • Keep all poisons in a cabinet out of reach.
  • Use cabinet safety locks. Learn how to poison proof your home.
  • Never store food products with non-food items.
  • Store products in original containers. Make sure bottles are labeled. Never store poisons in
    a food or beverage container.
  • Use child-resistant containers whenever possible. Be sure they are closed properly.
  • Unused, unneeded or expired medicine should be taken out of their original containers and
    disposed of properly. Medicine should not flushed down the toilet or drains. Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 if you have any questions.
  • Wear your glasses and keep the lights on when taking medicine.
  • Never call medicine candy. Children should understand the difference.
  • ► See Is it Medicine or Candy? (PDF)
    Other languages: :[Español][中文]

  • Keep plants up high and out of reach. Some plants are poisonous. Learn which plants are poisonous to children and pets.
  • ► See You Can Prevent Plant Poisonings (PDF)
    Other languages: [Español][中文] [Русский] [Haitian-Creole]

  • Teach children to always ask an adult before eating, drinking or touching anything.
  • Read the label and follow directions for medicines and cleaning products.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in sleeping areas.
  • Post the Poison Control Center telephone number (800-222-1222) on all telephones in your home and in your cell phone.

Some common signs that a poisoning has happened:

  • an open container nearby
  • pills, berries, etc. in the mouth
  • strange odor on the breath
  • burns around the mouth
  • upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting
  • dizziness or unconsciousness

Stay Calm! Act Fast!

Call 911 right away if the person is having trouble breathing, having seizures or unconscious. Call the Poison Center (800-222-1222) while you are waiting for the ambulance.

If the person is awake and alert, call the Poison Control Center right away at 212-POISONS (212-764-7667) or 800-222-1222. Even if there are no immediate symptoms, it is important to call and speak to the Poison Specialists about any poisoning exposures.

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