Saving lives and time

In emergencies, the poison control emergency call center can make a difference

Always available

The Minnesota Poison Control System’s emergency call center is always available to help people safely manage poisonings at home. Poison specialists help callers decide whether to seek immediate medical help, and guide them throughout the process. In 2015, the center was able to safely manage 92 percent of the 42,571 calls about residential exposures.

The call center is available to residents of all Minnesota counties 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The public and health-care providers are encouraged to call the center at 1-800-222-1222 for information or during emergencies.

Call 911 first if a poison victim is unconscious, having a seizure, not breathing or has chest pain.

Cooking up trouble

The most common source of poison is food, with millions of food-borne illness cases reported each year in the United States.

The main causes of these illnesses can be traced to improper cooking, food storage, and failure to wash hands before handling food.

The best way to prevent foodborne illness and cross-contamination is to:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds after touching any food and after every trip to the bathroom
  • Use hot, soapy water to wash cutting boards
  • Use soap, water, and a disposable paper towel to clean surfaces instead of a sponge or dish cloth
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating
  • Throw away food that has been at room temperature for longer than two hours
  • Avoid food in dented, bulging or rusted cans
  • Throw away suspicious food

Keep children safe

Keeping poison away from children is a difficult task, especially when so many dangerous products have bright packaging. Families should make sure children aren’t getting their hands on potential hazards by taking the following precautions:

  • Lock dangerous items in high storage cabinets
  • Buy products with child-resistant caps
  • Avoid taking medication around children
  • Keep medications in their original containers
  • Make sure houseplants are out of young children’s reach

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