Tuesday, September 23, 2014

National Preparedness Month: How Poison Control Can Help

During the month of September we celebrate National Preparedness Month! While this celebration entails being more prepared, with the right tools in place, you can be assured that you will be celebrating when you are prepared for any emergency that comes your way.

Emergency preparedness encompasses four important steps:

·        Get or create a disaster preparedness kit (Check out this kit list from the CDC: http://www.ready.gov/document/family-supply-list)

·        Make a plan so your family knows what to do when disaster strikes (Check out this family communication plan from FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/34330)

·        Be informed so you know what to do when disaster strikes your area (Sign up for alerts in your area: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/preparedness/informed/)

·        Get Involved in the community preparedness (FEMA shares ways you can get involved: http://www.fema.gov/volunteer-donate-responsibly)

How can the Poison Control Centers help during disasters? Here’s a list of ways:

§  In the event of a chemical or biological attack. The staff at each poison center has extensive knowledge of healthcare resources and work with hospitals to ensure that patients get the right treatments needed. Experts are able to identify what antidotes can help and provide education to both the public and healthcare professionals.

§  They handle acute and chronic poisonings as well as environmental and occupational exposures. This is an important resource because specialists in poison information are also experts in toxicology.

§  They collect data. The data collection system can assist in detection of diseases and help track individuals who might have been exposed. This information is vital when it comes to issues of a bioterrorist attack.

§  They alleviate fears. As a 24 hour resource, you can contact them at ANYTIME with concerns or issues that you would like more information about.

 The Poison Control Hotline is such an important resource to the community and the best part is it is available 24/7 for FREE! Call 1-800-222-1222 and put your mind at ease when dealing with any natural disaster or emergency. They are here to help!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ebola: What You Need to Know and How the Poison Center Can Help

This year we have seen the largest Ebola breakout in history. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the current outbreak is mainly affecting West Africa and does not pose a risk to the United States at this time.

As stated on their website, the CDC has deployed teams of health experts to West Africa to help with this outbreak. It is important to remember that no confirmed cases of Ebola have been reported in the United States. But the Texas Poison Center Network wants you to know they are here to assist with any questions or concerns regarding Ebola.
Ebola can spread to others after symptoms begin. These symptoms can start anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms of Ebola can include:

  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain

If you have any concerns regarding Ebola, please do not hesitate to contact the Poison Control Network at 1-800-222-1222. For all the latest statistics on the Ebola outbreak, please visit here: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/index.html.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Texas Poison Control Network Celebrates 20 Years of Service

The Texas Poison Control Network is celebrating a milestone this year. It has been providing outstanding poison control services for the past 20 years and we could not be more proud!

In 1993 the Texas Legislature established the Texas Poison Control Network which formally began to provide services to the state on September 1, 1994.  Poison center services had previously been provided by individual poison control centers in Galveston and Dallas, while the county hospital’s inpatient pharmacy answered calls in El Paso. 

Establishment of the Texas Poison Control Network ensured that all Texans had access to the highest quality 24-hour toll-free telephone referral and information services. Thanks to these fantastic poison control centers, thousands of lives have been saved and millions of dollars in healthcare costs have been avoided in the process by eliminating unnecessary emergency room visits.

The Texas Poison Control Network is a vital resource to the community and we hope to see these centers provide excellent service to Texans for years to come. Here are some of the many things that poison control centers can help you with- just by dialing 1-800-222-1222!

  • Drug Information and identification (adverse effects,  generic/brand name questions, dosing information, contraindications, drug-drug interactions, medication disposal, etc...)
  • Environmental Information (carbon monoxide, general questions about soil or air contamination,  lead, mercury, mercury cleanup, chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear emergencies, etc...)
  • Medical Information ( poison-related first aid and patient management recommendations, medical toxicology consultations, epidemiological data collection and surveillance, etc...)
  • Poison Information (food poisoning, safe food handling practices, exposures or medication questions or concerns during pregnancy/breastfeeding, plant toxicity, animal bites and stings, safe use and storage of household and  personal hygiene products)
  • Prevention/Safety Information (poison prevention questions, educational presentation requests for the public and healthcare professionals, media consultations, educational materials, pharmaceutical collection events and proper disposal information, etc...)
If you know someone who works for Poison Control, let them know their service is appreciated. Here is a list of the centers celebrating 20 years of excellence service to the State of Texas as the Texas Poison Control Network:

Central Texas PoisonCenter, Baylor Scott & White in Temple

North Texas Poison Center, Parkland Hospital in Dallas

Texas Panhandle PoisonCenter, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in  Amarillo
South Texas Poison Center, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in San Antonio
Southeast Texas Poison Center, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston
West Texas Regional PoisonCenter, University Medical Center of El Paso in El Paso