Illinois Poison Center introduces new toll-free number

Illinois Poison Center introduces new toll-free number


CHICAGO—Illinois residents now need to learn and remember only one, toll-free phone number for poison emergencies and questions: 1-800-222-1222. Calling this national, toll-free hot line will connect you to local poison experts at any time, from anywhere in the country.

The Illinois Poison Center (IPC), which offers free, confidential poison prevention and treatment services to all Illinois residents, is partnering with the American Association of Poison Control Centers and poison centers across the country to introduce this new, national hot line to help people with poison prevention and treatment advice. The nationwide, toll-free poison center number, 1-800-222-1222, automatically connects callers with their designated local poison center, from anywhere in the U.S. All calls placed in Illinois will be routed to the PCC. The IPC will continue to be accessible through its previously published toll-free number; however, the IPC will stop promoting the former number and encourage use of the new number.

“Implementing a national number for poison centers helps to ensure that everyone has access to poison control services,” said Michael Wahl, M.D., administrative medical director for the IPC. “In a poisoning emergency, when every second counts, one quick call to the IPC at 1-800-222-1222 can save time and anxiety, and immediately give you the proper treatment advice.”

In 2001, the IPC handled nearly 73,000 poisoning exposure cases. According to Wahl, nearly four out of five of these poisoning victims were treated safely and effectively with the IPC’s help, without a time-consuming trip to a hospital emergency department or doctor’s office.

To keep your family safe from poisons, Wahl recommends that you follow these basic poison prevention tips:

l Make sure all potential poisons are locked up and out of the reach of children.

l Keep medicines and household products in their original containers with original labels.

l Always read the directions before using medicines, cleansers and other products.

“If you suspect someone has been poisoned, don’t wait for symptoms to appear, call the IPC at 1-800-222-1222 for free, professional advice,” said Wahl. “You can be prepared for a poisoning emergency by posting the IPC’s new phone number on or near each phone in your home.”

For more information on how you can prevent poisonings and obtain free copies of the IPC’s new educational materials—including IPC telephone stickers, children’s learning games, poison prevention brochures, a toxic plant list and more—contact the IPC at 1-800-222-1222 and press 2, or visit the IPC’s web site at

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