Not Invincible: Young adults underuse poison centers
A college student with a spider bite wonders if itís normal that angry red lines have formed around the wound.
A young student realizes that she has become addicted to pain medications after her wisdom tooth surgery.
These scenarios faced by young adults warranted calls to their local poison centers. Unfortunately, these individuals didnít know whom to ask.
People ages 18-24 can find themselves in new and unexpected situations as they leave home for college, work, travel or military service. Some involve poisoning, whether that means a venomous bite or sting, drug abuse, alcohol poisoning or medication mistake.
A national survey of adults by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration shows that people ages 18-24 are:
Less likely to be familiar with poison centers and the 800-222-1222 Poison Help number.
Less likely to be aware that the poison control hotline is a free service available 24 hours a day.
Less likely to know that poison centers take calls about adult medication mistakes.
The poison centers offer the following tips for staying safe from poison regardless of age:
Program your cellphone with the toll-free Poison Help line. That can be a lot of numbers to remember in an emergency.
Teach young adults to be cautious with medications and to take action if someone appears to be in distress from drug or alcohol intoxication.
Call for yourself, a friend or a family member. The poison center can advise whether or not a situation is a dangerous medical emergency, or if it can be handled safely on-site.