New York State Poison Control Network - Annual Report on 2001 Data

Management Of The Societal Impact Of Poisoning

Public Education And Awareness

The Network strives to offer a variety of outreach programs throughout the state in an effort to instruct the public in poison prevention and to create an awareness of the services of poison centers.

Various education programs have been designed and developed for the general public targeting specific age groups and are provided in different areas of the state. Examples of the types of programs provided are identified in Appendix Four.

The following case points out the need for awareness of potential poisons in our everyday environment.

Case: A frantic mother calls her Regional Poison Control Center where a Pharmacist Certified in Poison Information (CSPI) took her call. After calming the mother, the pharmacist proceeded to obtain a history. Apparently the mother had just purchased an ornamental plant from her local nursery. She placed it on the floor in her den and her two-year old son began playing with the leaves. The mom turned away for a moment and then heard a cry of pain. It seemed her son took a bite out of one of the leaves of the plant. She immediately removed the pieces of leaf from his mouth and noticed his tongue looked normal. The CSPI asked the mother the identity of the plant, and also advised her to rinse the child's mouth with room temperature water. The mom reported the plant was a philodendron and the CSPI responded that this species of plant contains oxalate crystals and may cause pain and swelling in the mouth. The CSPI recommended giving the child an ice-pop to suck on and observing for oral swelling over the next few hours. On follow-up, the child remained asymptomatic after the initial burst of pain. The CSPI mailed the mother a list of toxic and non-toxic plants and was advised to keep all plants out of reach.

A statistical summary of public education outreach efforts is presented below.

Public Education Statistics 2001
Education Type Title Count
Literature Distributed Brochures/Telephone Stickers1,434,288
Other (videos, curriculum packets)23,048
Teacher Guides530
Programs Conducted Health Fairs99
Media News Releases18
Public Service Announcements6
TV and Radio Interviews37