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January 27, 2011

Blue Ridge Poison Center saves lives and medical expenses; Charlottesville mayor to proclaim March 14-21 Poison Prevention Week

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Poisoning is the second leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and the second leading cause of injury-related deaths in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health. By helping many callers treat their poison exposure at home, the Blue Ridge Poison Center (BRPC) at the University of Virginia Health System estimates it saved Virginians over $5 million in unnecessary medical expenses in 2008.

To mark the importance of the BRPC, Charlottesville Mayor David Norris will sign a proclamation declaring March 14-21, 2010 as Poison Prevention Week on Monday, March 15 at a city council meeting. This is in conjunction with National Poison Prevention Week, established by Congress in 1961 (P.L. 87-319).


Leading causes of poisoning nationwide include:

Over-the-counter medicines Personal products, like mouthwash or cosmetics Pesticides Cleaning products Prescription medicines Plants

The Blue Ridge Poison Center is staffed by nurses, doctors, and pharmacists specially trained to treat poisonings and answer questions about poisons. Callers can reach the Blue Ridge Poison Center 24 hours a day, every day of the year, by calling toll free: 1-800-222-1222. All calls are confidential.

Call the Blue Ridge Poison Center right away if:

Someone swallowed something they shouldn’t Someone took the wrong kind or wrong amount of medicine Someone splashed a product in their eyes Someone inhaled a potentially poisonous gas or vapor

About half of all calls to the poison center are about children under 6 years of age. There are fewer calls about adult cases than about children, but adults are 95 times more likely than children to suffer a serious injury or fatality from a poison exposure. For interviews with expert poison prevention professionals, please call the Public Relations office at 434-243-2734.

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