The other day, I had a terrible headache, not quite a migraine, but close. The thing is, I had just returned from a happy hour and was concerned about any interactions my headache medication would have with the alcoholic beverages I had consumed. Have you ever been in this situation before?
If so, you can do what I did and get free healthcare advice 24 hours a day from the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) through their toll-free number, 1-800-222-1222.
Within minutes callers are connected to individuals (nurses and doctors) specially trained in the prevention and treatment of hazardous materials. The services offered by poison centers are available in over 150 languages and are accessible to those who are deaf and have hearing disabilities.
In 2012, 78% of calls to the National Capital Poison Center were for unintentional poisonings; 29% of calls included requests for information. Almost half of the calls (48%) involved children under six and 65% of calls were safely managed over the phone without the caller needing to treatment at a medical facility (i.e., no emergency department fees or copays).
AAPCC and its member poison centers provide advice on a number of health issues. For instance, did you accidently mix multiple products while cleaning and now you can’t stop coughing? Say you’re traveling and can’t remember the dosage for your daughter’s medicine because you left the directions at home? AAPCC can advise you on these issues for free!
And guess what? AAPCC also provides advice for pets. So if you find your dog looking up at you innocently with what appears to be a chewed up aspirin bottle next to his paw you can call them and they will let you know what steps to take in the event of accidental poisoning.
Once again poison centers do not charge the public a fee for any of the services they provide. Contact the National Capital Poison Center serving Montgomery and Prince George's Counties for more information on our local poison center.