Poison Center help is not just for kids

Over a half million families in Washington are caring for an adult who needs care or is raising a relative’s child.

The Washington Poison Center (WAPC) is one community program available to all family caregivers 24/7 at no charge. Calling the Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 will connect you to the WAPC’s specially trained pharmacists, nurses and poison specialists.

“We are often thought of for helping when a child gets into a possible poison,” said WAPC’s executive director, Jim Williams. “We want to especially make sure caregivers of adults are aware they can get the same quality of help.” It is not unusual that caregivers need help managing medications because Americans fill an average of 22 prescriptions per year. Seniors, on average, are taking five to six medications at any given time, each for a specific health problem.

Kathy Ribik, of Woodinville, recently and unexpectedly became a caregiver of her 85-year-old mother.

“Just knowing there is a free, medical resource available to me all the time is comforting,” said Ribik.

Call the Poison Center with questions about medications or if a poisoning is suspected. With 24/7 access to a physician toxicologist and a database containing information on millions of drugs, chemicals and toxins, the WAPC staff has the expertise to help treat and prevent poisoning for people of all ages.

All calls to the Poison Center are free and confidential. Services are available for non-English speakers and for the deaf and hearing impaired. For more information, visit

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