December 6, 2019

KMEG 14 Sioux City/Abbey Taylor

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — In most emergencies, people will call 911.

While that's fine for car crashes or heart attacks, if it's something like accidentally inhaling cleaning supplies or taking the wrong medication there's a different number you should be calling.

"Certainly you should be calling 911 if the patient isn't breathing or can't be aroused but otherwise that's why we're here," said Iowa Poison Control Center Executive Director Linda Kalin.

The Iowa Poison Control Center is located right here in Sioux City answering calls for the whole state.

The center is staffed 24 hours a day with physicians, nurses and pharmacists to answer any questions and provide directions on how to handle your situation.

"A little over 25,000 individual cases this year," said Kalin.

The center's Executive Director, Linda Kalin, said the most calls of 2019 so far are 43 % and that is for children under the age of six accidentally getting into things.

"It's cosmetics and personal products. Second is household cleaning produces and third is analgesics that people have in the home like ibuprofen and acetaminophen," said Kalin.

Kalin said the second most-frequent issue called for isn't just in Iowa but nationwide is teenagers poisoning themselves, either through a TidePod challenge or through self- harm.

"Poisoning is now the leading cause of suicide attempts in adolescents especially females," said Kalin.

She said a third of their calls come from health care providers but for a wide variety of issues.

"Mixing cleaning supplies. Superglue, tar stuck on the skin, spider and snakebite all different kinds of things besides a medication," said Kalin.

Kalin said it's a free call and it's as easy as dialing 1-800-222-1222 if you need to reach poison control.

"Prevent poisoning but improve patient outcomes and decrease costs to the overall healthcare system to cases we can at home," said Kalin.

Kalin said over the holidays their calls for self-harm actually decrease but they do see a rise in calls for a child accidentally eating a poinsettias leaf, swallowing button batteries or pieces of a toy.

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