California Poison Control Observes National Poison Prevention Week March 20-27
Launches iPhone App “Choose Your Poison” to Mark Event’s 50th Year
LOS ANGELES, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – National Poison Prevention Week, established by the U.S. Congress in 1961 to promote poison prevention, will mark its 50th year the week of March 21. California Poison Control System (CPCS) (http://www.calpoison.com) is leading the way in consumer awareness of poison prevention by launching a free iPhone application, Choose Your Poison, now available at the Apple app store here: http://bit.ly/gg9vfG. Choose Your Poison is also available at http://www.pillsvscandy.org. The game is a fun and interactive way to get educated by testing one’s ability to identify medicines as well as information on poison prevention and awareness.
“We’d all like to believe that we’re smart and savvy when it comes to the way we store medicines and other household items that are toxic,” says Richard Geller, M.D., medical and managing director, California Poison Control System Fresno/Madera Division. “The reality is that it’s difficult to determine what’s safe and what isn’t especially because pills look so much like popular candy brands.” Dr. Geller points to the children’s vitamins that look so much like gummy bears that even pros sometimes can’t tell the difference. He added that the test is really challenging for adults because so many pills look exactly like candy.
“It’s truly enlightening when parents take this test and get a score of 75 percent or less. So we’re thrilled that this free app can get the test before a large group of people, including those who love to play games on their phones. It’s fun but difficult at the same time,” said Dr. Geller. California Poison Control — no stranger to technology – is known for its SMS program launched in 2010. Weekly poison tips are sent to cell phones by texting TIPS to 69866; also available in Spanish by texting PUNTOS to 69866.
Out of more than two million poisonings that are reported each year to poison control centers across the country, it is estimated that over 90 percent of them occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children under the age of six.
“Choose Your Poison is for everyone — health care workers, parents, teens, doctors, pharmacists — anyone,” adds communications director Iana Simeonov, who spearheads technology and mHealth (mobile health) projects for the CPCS. “Fifty years is a great milestone, but we’ll have cause to celebrate when knowledge and prevention have become so prevalent that we eliminate unnecessary poisonings.”
About California Poison Control
Weekly tips about poison prevention are available by testing TIPS to 69866. Follow CPCS on Facebook at California Poison Control and on Twitter @poisoninfo. CPCS is dedicated to providing residents with the most up-to-date information and 24-hour help in case of poisoning. In case of an accidental poisoning, consumers should immediately call 1-800-222-1222 for advice. Pharmacists, nurses, physician-toxicologists and poison information providers are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help. In most cases, a poison exposure can be safely managed in your home, avoiding a call to 911 or a visit to a crowded hospital emergency room. Many parents think about contacting the poison control services only in case of an emergency, but experts are available to answer questions any time.
SOURCE California Poison Control System