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Commonly Asked Questions

The Carolinas Poison Center not only treats patients who have been
exposed to poisons but is also a resource for poison information. When
questions arise, please call us at 1-800-222-1222.

If I call the poison center, will you report my call to another agency?
Well-meaning callers should not worry. Your call will not be "reported." We do maintain information on calls, but your information is kept confidential.  In rare instances where serious neglect or abuse is known or suspected, Carolinas Poison Center is required to alert the appropriate agencies, as is any healthcare organization or professional.

Can I call 1-800-222-1222 for poison information, even though it's not an emergency?
Yes.  Our Specialists are specially trained not only to help patients who have been exposed to poisons but to give information that can help prevent poisonings, too. Don't hesitate to call, if you have a question about a poison.  

What is harmful about silica gel? 
Silica gel is not toxic to humans. There is a warning sign on the packaging because it is considered a choking hazard. If children accidentally ingest silica gel, gently wipe out their mouth and give them something to drink to take away the bad taste.

If my child tastes or swallows something I think is poisonous, should I give him or her milk before calling the Carolinas Poison Center?
Milk is not the universal antidote. Before giving anything to drink, call the Carolinas Poison Center. Some poisonings require that the stomach remain empty.

Is it safe to have my carpet professionally cleaned if I have small children or pets?
Speak with the cleaning company before any cleaning is done and ask what chemicals will be used. If you have any doubts about the safety of these chemicals, call the Carolinas Poison Center.

How can I tell the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms?
There is no easy way to tell the difference. Both poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms thrive in moist, cool conditions. Check your yard and remove any mushrooms before allowing children to play outside. Tell children not to eat or touch any mushroom they find outdoors. It is best not to eat any wild mushroom unless it is accurately identified first. Remember that cooking does not always destroy the toxins found in a poisonous mushroom. 

What should I do if I think I have food poisoning?
Food poisoning symptoms can last between 12-24 hours and include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Drink plenty of fluids.  Call Carolinas Poison Center for more information.

Does the poison center do testing on food or chemicals for consumers?
No.  Carolinas Poison Center is not a testing facility. 

Is the poison center required to give consumers pill identification (ID) information?
No.  Pill ID is given as a courtesy.  You will need to provide the following information to the Specialist:
•  Name
•  Age (you must be over 18)
•  Telephone number
•  City
•  Zip code
•  Product imprint codes (letters, numbers, symbols)
•  Confirmation that the pill(s) belong to you or someone in your care

You can reach Carolinas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. 

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Carolinas Poison Center    P.O. Box 32861    Charlotte  NC    28232-2861    1-800-222-1222  •  © 2017