Poisoning events may be unintentional (including complications resulting from medical treatment or advice), intentional, or of undetermined intent.

If you think someone has been poisoned,
call the Poison Centre immediately at 1-800-332-1414

Statistics

  • In 2014, in Alberta there were 677 poisoning-related deaths, 3,493 hospital admissions and 19,654 emergency department visits.
  • Poisoning-related deaths accounted for 26% of all injury deaths in Alberta in 2014.
  • Among Albertans 30 to 69 years of age, poisonings resulted in more deaths than motor vehicle-related injury deaths and was the leading cause of injury death for those 30 to 69 year of age.
  • 71% of the poisoning deaths were of undetermined intent, about half of the hospital admissions (42%) were intentional poisoning and 68% of the emergency department visits were unintentional poisonings.
  • Older seniors (85+ years) had the highest rate of unintentional poisoning-related deaths and hospital admissions.
  • Young infants (1 to 4 years) had the highest number of unintentional poisoning-related emergency department visits with 1,345 visits.

Prevention Messages

  • Do you think someone has been poisoned?
    • Call the Poison Centre right away at 1-800-332-1414. Do not wait for the person to look or feel sick. The Poison Centre will explain what you can do to help. The call is free in Alberta. You can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
      • Take the poison container with you to the telephone.
      • Tell them the person’s age, weight, sex and how they are feeling.
      • Tell how much poison was taken and when.
    • Call 911 if the person is:
      • unconscious
      • having a seizure
      • not breathing

  • Protect babies and children.
    • Child-resistant containers are not childproof.. Store poisons like medicine, vitamins, and cleaning supplies in high, locked cupboards or boxes.
    • Place all medications in a locked box and put the box in a place that is high up and out of your child's reach. Keep all medication in the same child-resistant package it came in.
    • Each time you give medicine, read the label. Check to see if you are giving the right medicine and giving the right amount.
    • Never call medicine “candy.”
    • Store visitors’ purses and bags in a place that children can’t reach. They may have medicines in them.
    • Sometimes you must answer the phone or door while you are taking medicines or vitamins, or using cleaning supplies. Take the poisons with you.
    • Clean up ashtrays and leftover alcoholic drinks right away.
    • Store creams, powders and medicines away from baby change tables.
    • Keep children away from indoor and outdoor poisonous plants.
    • Children younger than 6 years like to try new things and put things in their mouths. They don’t know what is dangerous.

  • Protect yourself and your family
    • Read prescription labels to make sure you are taking or giving your family member the correct medicine and in the correct amount.
    • Use a medicines reminder, dosette box or daily pill container to help you take the right pill at the right time.
    • Never take or give someone more medicine than what the label says.
    • Never take someone else’s medicine.
    • Some medicines will make you sick if you take them with other medicines or alcohol. Read the label. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
    • Keep bug killer, car/truck fluids and cleaning supplies in their original bottles. Don’t put them in other containers like pop cans. If you must put them in another container put on a label. Write down the name of the poison. Do not put them in food or drink containers.
    • Don’t store poisons around food or drinks.
    • Never mix different cleaning products or chemicals together.

  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • Install carbon monoxide detectors on all levels of your home near rooms where people sleep.
    • Idle your car or truck outside the garage. Make sure the garage door is closed.
    • Each year, get an expert to check your house for carbon monoxide hazards. Ask them to check and clean:
      • fuel-burning appliances
      • furnaces
      • wood-burning stoves and fireplace vents.

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