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When Seconds Count:  National Poison Prevention Week is March 19-25.

In honor of National Poison Prevention Week, March 19-25, 2023, here are 5 ways you can celebrate:

  1. Know when to call poison control and when to call 911.  A suspected poisoning doesn’t necessarily mean an emergency.  Toxicity is determined by the dose. This infographic can help you take the best first aid steps in the event of a suspected poisoning.

  2. Have a teen or know one?  Poisonings don’t just happen to young children.  Check out our teen education about prescription drug misuse to find out what you might learn about this issue.

  3. Order a free poison prevention pack for you or someone you care about.  Packs are available for a variety of ages and stages in life.

  4. Get rid of unwanted medicines safely at home by following these steps recommended by the FDA:  Where and How to Dispose of Unused Medicines | FDA.

  5. Program the poison control number in your phone (1-800-222-1222) or bookmark the NC Poison Control website to chat (



Hand Sanitizer Cases on the Rise 

North Carolina Poison Control is seeing an increase in cases about hand sanitizers.  In fact, from 2019 to 2020 the volume of cases has nearly doubled from 327 (January 1-August 1, 2019) to 642 (January 1-August 1, 2020). 

Here are some of the reasons people are contacting North Carolina Poison Control about hand sanitizers:

  • when a child gets a taste or lick of sanitizer accidentally.

  • when someone is concerned about sanitizer containing methanol.

  • when someone has developed irritation or burning after using sanitizer.

  • when someone gets a splash of sanitizer in the eye or rubs the eyes with hands still wet with sanitizer.

You can help prevent hand sanitizer poisoning by storing sanitizer up and out of young children’s reach, using sanitizer according to the instructions on the label, and letting hands dry completely before rubbing the eyes.

When purchasing sanitizer, look for sanitizers that contain between 60-95% alcohol (ethyl or isopropyl alcohol).  One to two pumps per application should be sufficient for hand hygiene.  Supervise children when they are using hand sanitizer. 

Some sanitizers made in Mexico have been discovered to contain methanol.  Methanol is not a safe ingredient to be used in hand sanitizer.  If you are concerned that a sanitizer you’ve purchased may have methanol, view an updated list of the FDA’s recalled hand sanitizers here.  If you’re using a sanitizer on the FDA list of recalled sanitizers, throw it out.

Never drink hand sanitizer.  Hand sanitizers should only be used to clean hands.

View the CDC’s fact sheet on hand sanitizers and hand washing here

If you suspect someone might be poisoned by hand sanitizer, contact North Carolina Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or chat with us by visiting


Longer Periods of Indoor Time?  NC Poison Control Encourages Awareness of Poison Hazards at Home

Many people are experiencing more time indoors due to quarantining and stay-at-home orders.  This may also mean an interruption in normal family routines.  Unfortunately, poisoning exposures often occur when routines are disrupted.    

Everyday household items can turn into poisons if they’re used by the wrong person, in the wrong amount, or in the wrong way.

Common products that children can get into include:

  • Personal care products (like mouthwash, lotions, and sanitizer)

  • Cleaning products

  • Over-the-counter or prescription medications

  • Home improvement and artistic materials

  • Foreign objects (like silica gel packets, glow sticks, and coins)

NC Poison Control recommends that people consider the everyday items they use.  Keep household products and cleaners up and away and out of children’s sight.  NC Poison Control has created this room-by-room Home Safety Checklist to review potentially poisonous items in the home.  Click here to download or order the Home Safety Checklist. 

To prevent accidental poisoning:

  • Store personal care products, medicines, and cleaners up and away and out of sight.

  • Keep purses, handbags, or backpacks that contain medicines or personal care products up and away from children.

  • Teach young children not to touch or taste a product without a trusted adult’s permission.  Colorful and pleasant-smelling products can be appealing to children. 

  • Remember that children like to imitate adult behavior.

  • When giving children medicine, double check morning and evening medications to prevent double dosing. 

We know that accidents happen.  If you suspect a poisoning, call NC Poison Control anytime at 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a nurse or pharmacist for immediate help.


Order an e-cigarette brochure from North Carolina Poison Control

North Carolina Poison Control has a new brochure available to help you navigate some of the information, or misinformation, you may be hearing about e-cigarettes.

The brochure equips you with facts about e-cigarettes and provides tips about how to approach the subject of vaping with the teens in your life.  You’ll also find out what to do in the event an e-cigarette poisoning is suspected.    

Parents with young children, this brochure is for you, too.  Children are at risk for e-cigarette poisoning if they come in contact with e-cigarette products.

Anyone in North Carolina can order a free e-cigarette brochure as a part of our teen pack.  Click here to order a teen pack. 

You can also click here to download or print the brochure.