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Poison Control observing national prevention week

Exposure to poison can – and often does – happen unexpectedly. Highlighting this fact, the National Capital Poison Center reports that in 2021, poison control centers across the United States provided telephone guidance for more than 2.08 million human poison exposures, which is about one new case every 15 seconds. Statistics like this is one reason California Poison Control System (CPCS) urges everyone to observe National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW), March 17 through 23.

Many people don’t realize that numerous items we come into daily contact with – from common medications to household products to certain plants and virtually all insecticides and pesticides, to name just a few things – can actually be dangerous poisons. In large enough quantities, some harmless substances can be poisonous, while even small doses of other substances can be toxic.

“A poisoning can occur in virtually any setting, from almost any substance, and can happen by being swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin,” said Rais Vohra, Medical Director for the Fresno/Madera Division of CPCS. “In fact, most people don’t realize that poisoning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States.”

CPCS is observing NPPW with a variety of life-saving preventative services to reduce the risk of poisoning and as a reminder to think about poison prevention.

A highlight of the week will be Rattlesnake Awareness Day with CPCS and the Fresno Chaffee Zoo teaming up on Friday, March 22 for an in-person or virtual event on CPCS’ Facebook page to educate California residents about rattlesnakes and preventing bites, as well as safety guidelines, first aid measures, and how to get help in the event of a bite.

Also during NPPW week, CPCS is presenting the “Close Calls with CPCS” video series in which CPCS poison experts will discuss common poisonings. Each session will be led by CPCS’ medical directors, Dr. Vohra and Dr. Rangan, featuring a special guest speaker.

Topic videos include:

“Water Beads” with Dr. Rais Vohra, Dr. Cyrus Rangan, and Dr. Justin Lewis of CPCS.

“Pesticide Safety” with Dr. Rais Vohra, Dr. Cyrus Rangan, and Dr. Alanna Bares of the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).

“Weight Loss and Diabetes Injectables” with Dr. Rais Vohra, Dr. Cyrus Rangan, Dr. Raymond Ho of CPCS and Dr. Stephen Petrou of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).

“Legalization of Psilocybin” with Dr. Rais Vohra, Dr. Cyrus Rangan, and Dr. Craig Smollin of CPCS.

“Fentanyl with Xylazine” with Dr. Rais Vohra, Dr. Cyrus Rangan, and Dr. Riku Moriguchi of the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

The “Close Calls” video series can be viewed on the CPCS Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 (number is the same in all states) for questions about poison encounters. Trained pharmacists, nurses and other providers are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free, confidential and interpreters are available. Get weekly tips about safety by texting TIPS to 20121 for English or texting PUNTOS to 20121 for Spanish. Follow CPCS on Facebook and on Twitter @poisoninfo. CPCS is part of the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy and is responsible to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.