You just found your toddler eating toothpaste-Will that hurt him? What types of poisonous spiders live in the Rio Grande Valley? How do you get rid of hazardous household products? Are those blackberries in your backyard safe to eat? Throughout the year, the Texas Poison Center Network (TPCN) answers these types of questions and responds to poison-related emergencies in more than 1,000 calls a day.
The network provides a 24-hour, 365 days a year, emergency telephone number for Texans. It’s over seen by the Commission on State Emergency Communications. By calling 1-800-222-1222, residents have access to a 24-hour toxicology referral service staffed by trained physicians, pharmacists and nurses.
The TPCN has a system where all calls roll-over to the next available call center if the one in your region is busy. That way no one ever gets a busy signal. There’s always someone there to help you.
The Texas Poison Center Network complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may access the service by calling the following number for TTY: 1-800-222-1222.
TPCN specialists provide immediate assistance. Most of the time, the caller can take care of the poison exposure problem with the information and advice provided over the phone. If hands-on medical treatment is necessary, the poison center specialist will advise you to call an ambulance. When the ambulance arrives, they can give treatment advice to the emergency care providers.
Poison centers are also there when you just have a question about poison. The poison center specialist will answer poison-related questions about medicines (such as medication interactions), household products and other potentially dangerous substances.
The poison center specialists have access to databases that have treatment and drug information, plus they monitor new drugs and products on the market. If necessary, staff may refer callers to the nearest hospital and assist in the person’s initial treatment and follow-up care.
The Texas Poison Center Network also provides public education activities for teachers, students and citizens as well as professional educational opportunities for Texas health-care providers. Poison centers are located in Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, Galveston, San Antonio and Temple.