- What it is: webPOISONCONTROL® is an innovative online triage tool that guides users faced with a poison emergency through a series of simple questions to determine the toxicity of an unintentionally swallowed substance, before symptoms develop.
- What it does: After providing the name of the product, amount swallowed, age and weight, the user is given a specific recommendation. That recommendation could be: it's safe to stay home because toxicity is minimal; go immediately to the ER; or call Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) for further guidance. When it's safe to stay home, the user is also given information on specific symptoms that are likely to occur and are not of concern, and symptoms that should trigger a call to Poison Control or an ER visit, should they develop.
- Where to get it: webPOISONCONTROL is an online web tool (webpoisoncontrol.org) as well as a free mobile app, downloadable on the App Store or on Google play. The mobile app offers the additional feature of product barcode scanning, saving the user the time it takes to type and search for a product name.
- Launch: Feasibility and safety testing have been ongoing since Dec 30, 2014. The program is now being promoted for broad public use. Enhancements are continuing to be developed.
- Who created it? Sponsored by the National Capital Poison Center in Washington, DC, eight U.S. poison centers are participating in the project.
Why was webPOISONCONTROL developed?
- Accurate info online: webPOISONCONTROL was developed to respond to a shift in the way people access health information, with a growing use of computers and smart phones to obtain information on the internet instead of by telephone. Prior to the launch of webPOISONCONTROL, case-specific poison information available on the internet was limited and often inaccurate.
- Decrease poison center costs: Most U.S. poison centers struggle with inadequate funding despite providing life-saving and cost-saving services. A recent study pegged that cost savings at $13.39 per dollar spent on poison control services. Once utilization increases, webPOISONCONTROL may decrease the cost of providing poison control services nationally, providing some relief from the financial challenges and markedly increasing the cost-benefit realized from poison control services.
When you can use webPOISONCONTROL instead of calling Poison Control:
- Choose the way you access poison help. If you prefer the internet over the phone, don't have cell service but do have internet access, or can't make a phone call, try webPOISONCONTROL.
- Who can be helped online? The app is only for unintentionally swallowed poisons – taken once, by a human (not your dog). It's for cases where symptoms haven't developed yet, in people who are healthy, not pregnant, and between the ages of 6 months and 79 years.
- Who should call: If you'd rather talk to a real person or don't meet the criteria for online help, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 for immediate assistance.
- Don't guess. Use webPOISONCONTROL or call Poison Control. Both are expert, free and confidential.
What you can do:
- Be prepared for a poison emergency: download the app to your mobile device before you need it! And try it out, being careful to check the box "I'm just trying the tool. This is not a real case."
- Donate. webPOISONCONTROL is funded entirely by charitable contributions. Maintaining and enhancing the app costs more than $2 million/year. Please help. Donate now.
webPOISONCONTROL Facts (pdf)
Poisoned? Get Expert Help Online
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webPOISONCONTROL® is funded entirely through generous private contributions. Your donation to our 501(c)(3) charitable organization will help us maintain and expand this free service so that others can get life-saving help for poison exposures.