What should I expect when I call?

Watch this short video or read the following list for information about what you will be asked.

  • Your name and the name of the person who was poisoned.
  • The phone number where someone from the poison control center can reach you for follow-up
  • The age and weight of the person who was poisoned
  • Medical history of the person who was poisoned
  • How long ago the exposure occurred
  • The name of the product or medication involved. If possible, have the product or medication with you when you call the poison control center. The specialist may need to confirm ingredients with you because many products and medications have similar names but different ingredients.
  • How the person looks and feels at the time you are calling. Is the person experiencing symptoms? Has the person vomited?
  • The events surrounding the poison exposure:
    1. How long was the person in contact with the poisonous substance?
    2. Was it swallowed, inhaled, absorbed through skin contact or splashed into the eyes?
    3. How much might the person have ingested?
    4. Was anything done for the person before the poison center was called?

What is poison?

A poison is any substance that can harm someone if it is used in the wrong way, by the wrong person or in the wrong amount. Some substances are harmful if they come into contact with the eyes or skin. Others are toxic if they are inhaled or swallowed.

Am I calling a national hotline?

There is no national poison control center. The poison help number, 1-800-222-1222 is a nationwide number that connects anyone in the country to their local poison control center. When you call from a Kentucky phone number you’ll reach our center.

Who answers the phone when I call?

Our phones are answered by specially trained nurses who have additional certification in toxicology. They are specialists in communicating advice about poison to health care professionals, first responders, patients, parents, family members, the general public and the media.

How much does it cost to call the poison control center?

Calling us is free! Plus, most cases can be treated at home with the help of our poison control specialists, so calling might even save you the cost of a trip to the emergency room.

Is my call confidential?

Yes. The information you provide is confidential and used only to give advice and help determine the best way to treat the person. The information you provide is protected by the same HIPAA laws that apply to your doctor.

How many people call the Kentucky Poison Control Center each year?

Last year we received more than 50,000 calls just here in Kentucky.

Can I call the poison control center if it’s not an emergency?

Yes. We answer questions about possible drug interactions and other nonemergency situations. We encourage you to call with your questions to prevent a poisoning.

Isn’t poison control just for kids?

No. We answer calls every day for adults who have been exposed to poisons.