Spring arrived Sunday, and the new season means the potential for new risks.

Registered nurse Tammy Noble is spokeswoman for the Sioux City-based Iowa Poison Control Center, which has experts available around the clock for when accidents happen. “People think that poison centers are just helping families with young children,” Noble says, “and while half of our calls are about kids, especially kids under the age of six, the other half of our calls are about teens and adults.”

Noble says the nature and urgency of the calls typically varies based on the age of the person involved.
“When teens and adults have exposures, oftentimes those tend to be more serious, more at risk for complications,” Noble says. “The children’s calls tend to be a lot lower in toxicity. They don’t take as much, so the majority of those we can just provide the information, you can get the help you need and treat the person right at home.”

A toll-free call can sometimes save an expensive — and unnecessary — trip to the emergency room. There’s a wealth of helpful tips on the poison center website that can assist parents and others in making their homes safer for children.

“It’s important to know that 90% of poisonings happen in the home,” Noble says. “For preschoolers, that’s where they feel the safest and they don’t always understand that there’s things in my house that could be harmful, so, helping teach kids what poisons are and where they’re at.”

The Iowa Poison Control Center is always open at 1-800-222-1222 or online at www.iowapoison.org.

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)