WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–National Poison Prevention Week (March 20-26) marks a turning point in
poison control. For the past 60 years, poison centers delivered help
over the telephone. Now the public can choose how to get help. webPOISONCONTROL®,
the first online, automated triage tool for poison emergencies will be
formally launched during National Poison Prevention Week after a
successful year-long pilot. Over 10,000 people have already used the
tool to get rapid personalized help for poison emergencies.
webPOISONCONTROL® is a free, easy-to-use online tool
that helps people determine the toxicity of unintentionally swallowed
products or medications, before symptoms develop. After providing the
name of the product, amount swallowed, age and weight, the user is given
a specific recommendation: it’s safe to stay at home because toxicity is
minimal; go immediately to the ER; or call Poison Control
(1-800-222-1222) for further guidance. When it’s safe to stay home,
information is provided on specific symptoms that are likely to occur
and not of concern, and symptoms that should trigger a call to Poison
Control or an ER visit, should they develop.
Expert guidance at the time of a poison emergency means that the best
care is delivered quickly. Without poison control guidance, too many
people just guess – resulting in needless ER visits for those who don’t
need to see a doctor, and dire outcomes for those who stay home when
they should have sought medical care. But over the past decade, there’s
been a change in the way people seek health information – turning to the
internet instead of using the phone. “But we noted many inaccuracies in
online poison information,” said Toby Litovitz, MD, medical toxicologist
and director of the project. “webPOISONCONTROL® was
developed to make Poison Control more accessible and respond to the need
for a trusted online resource for poison emergencies, especially the
need for an app that provided reliable, case-specific recommendations.”
webPOISONCONTROL® could prove to be a game-changer in
another way. Despite providing life-saving and cost-saving services and
despite a cost savings of $13.39 per dollar spent on poison control
services, most U.S. poison centers have struggled with inadequate
funding for decades. Every year U.S. poison centers cost about $150
million and handle 2.2 million human poison exposures, with 68% of those
cases kept at home without healthcare intervention. “The automation of a
computer app could eventually make the delivery of poison control
services less expensive, providing some relief from the significant
financial challenges that poison centers face,” said Litovitz.
To be ready for emergencies, try it now at www.webpoisoncontrol.org,
or download it on your mobile device. At this time, webPOISONCONTROL®
helps in cases of possible poisoning from unintentionally swallowed
substances – taken once, by a human (not a pet). It’s for cases where
symptoms haven’t developed yet, in people who are healthy, not pregnant,
and between the ages of 6 months and 79 years. For all other cases,
call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.
Now you can choose the way you access poison help. If you prefer the
internet over the phone or can’t make a phone call, try webPOISONCONTROL®.
But if you’d rather talk to a real person or don’t meet the criteria for
online help, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 for immediate
assistance. Just don’t guess. Either use webPOISONCONTROL®
or call. Both options are expert, free and confidential.
webPOISONCONTROL® is sponsored by the National Capital
Poison Center in Washington, DC, and seven
accredited U.S. poison centers are participating in the project. The
content was created by experts – clinical toxicologists with extensive
experience in poison control centers. Those experts were able to
accomplish the previously unimaginable: making automated poison help
quickly and easily accessible online. The simplicity of the app masks
the complex logic integrating 1,180 ingredient algorithms, more than
38,000 products, and more than 162,000 barcodes.
webPOISONCONTROL® is brought to you
by poison control centers. The project was developed and managed by the National
Capital Poison Center, and seven
accredited U.S. poison centers are currently participating.
Founded in 1980, the National Capital Poison Center is a 501(c)(3)
charitable organization. webPOISONCONTROL®
is funded by charitable contributions, including partial funding
provided by the Potomac Health Foundation.
National Capital Poison Center
Toby Litovitz, MD