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When you call the Palmetto Poison Center for toxicologic information, the staff will request specific details about the exposure. The data are entered into a confidential national database for tracking of poisoning exposures. Whenever possible, prepare to provide the Poison Information Specialist the following information:

  • Patient’s age and weight
  • Name of substance involved or product information (from container if available)
  • Time and route of exposure with estimated amounts involved
  • Symptoms
  • Relevant medical history including current medications and allergies
  • Therapy already initiated
  • Laboratory results (if available at health care facility)
  • Telephone number

Some of this information may be unavailable at the time of the initial call. However, the PPC can still offer general management recommendations based on the information available. The poison information specialist will provide follow-up calls, if indicated, to update recommendations and provide ongoing advice should circumstances change or more information become available. Likewise, a caller may re-contact the PPC if clinical conditions change or if there are other poisoning questions.

Epidemiologic data collection is another important role of the PPC. By contacting the PPC whenever caring for patients accidentally or intentionally exposed to potential toxins, you are providing important injury data collection to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

This data is forwarded to the American Association of Poison Control Centers for inclusion in their annual statistical profile of the national incidence and outcome of poisonings that is published annually in Clinical Toxicology. Poison center data collection represents one of the oldest and most detailed injury surveillance systems in the world. All information is confidential.


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