New mobile app helps determine severity of poisonings

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Photo: National Capital Poison Center

Washington – In an effort to combat the “many inaccuracies” of poisoning-treatment information on the internet, the National Capital Poison Center has created a free mobile app.

Available for download to Apple and Android devices, webPOISONCONTROL contains information on 42,000 products and 185,000 barcodes. It uses seven steps to evaluate the danger level of the poisoning situation, and helps determine whether users should treat a poisoning incident at home, contact a poison control center or go to the emergency room.

“webPOISONCONTROL was developed to make poison control more accessible and respond to the need for a trusted online resource for poison emergencies, especially the need for an app that provided reliable, case-specific recommendations,” Dr. Toby Litovitz, executive and medical director of the National Capital Poison Center, said in a press release.

To test the usefulness of the app, researchers examined 9,256 cases of its use between February 2015 and February 2016. Of those cases, more than three-fourths involved children younger than 6.

Results showed no fatalities or major adverse outcomes were reported when the app was used. Of all cases, 59.5 percent involved a household product or plant, while pharmaceuticals made up the remainder. Two percent of cases involved a visit to the emergency room, about 24 percent were referred to a poison control center, and slightly more than 73 percent were addressed at home.

The study was published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Poison Control call center operators are still available by phone 24 hours, seven days a week, at (800) 222-1222.

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