Gayle Finkelstein is Vermont Poison Prevention Educator with the Northern New England Poison Center in Community Health Improvement at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

Gayle Finkelstein is Vermont Poison Prevention Educator with the Northern New England Poison Center in Community Health Improvement at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

March 20-26 is National Poison Prevention Week. We all have a role to play in preventing poisonings, and that role starts with knowing the poison center phone number — 1-800-222-1222. Store this phone number in your cell phone today, and post it on your refrigerator or near your home phone. You never know when you will need help from the poison center!

Poisonings affect people of all ages, in all kinds of situations. The Northern New England Poison Center is available 24/7 to offer treatment advice in an emergency and to answer poison-related questions. All calls are free and confidential.

You can also visit www.nnepc.org to learn more about the NNEPC, to find out about possible poisons and how to prevent poisonings, or to chat online with the same poison specialists who answer the help line.

Here are some other steps you can take to help prevent poisonings:

  • Keep possibly harmful substances like medicines, cleaning and laundry products, pesticides and button batteries up high, out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Always read and follow the directions on the labels of any products you use, including medicine, cleaning products and pesticides.
  • Keep a detailed list of medicines (both prescription and over-the-counter), vitamins and supplements you take. Share this list with your doctor and pharmacist.

Gayle Finkelstein, MS, is Poison Prevention Educator with the Northern New England Poison Center.

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