Poison Exposure and Chronic Illnesses
Common chronic illnesses, such as asthma and food allergies, can worsen with exposure to potentially toxic substances. While most poison exposures in children cause temporary or mild symptoms, it is important to know how to find help if serious exposures happen. Teachers, school nurses or any school medical staff should be informed of a student's chronic illness. If an exposure occurs or if there are any poison related questions, call the free California Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.
Tips for Educators
- Students and staff should wash their hands with soap and water based on school procedures and at recommended key times such as after bathroom breaks, before lunch or after playing outside.
- Before using cleaning products in the classroom, carefully read labels and follow the directions.
- Store all cleaners out of sight and out of children’s reach in their original containers.
- Never mix different cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting chemicals.
- Monitor children when using hand sanitizers—only use a dime-sized amount on the skin.
- Pest control within schools should be conducted according to local regulations.
- For COVID-19 prevention in the classroom, contact the school district or local health department.
- Sign up for free text tips. Text TIPS to 20121 for poison safety information in English. Text PUNTOS for Spanish.
- Be prepared in case of poison exposure by saving the California Poison Hotline (800-222-1222) in all phones and post it somewhere visible in the classroom. Order magnet logos and other helpful poison prevention materials here.
Visit www.calpoison.org or call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 (number is the same in all states) for questions about poison encounters. Trained pharmacists, nurses and other providers are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free, confidential and interpreters are available. Get weekly tips about safety by texting TIPS to 20121 for English or texting PUNTOS to 20121 for Spanish. Follow CPCS on Facebook and on Twitter @poisoninfo. CPCS is part of the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy and is responsible to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.