Calling the CPCC

Dialing a phone

When you call the Connecticut Poison Control Center, you will speak with a specialist in poison information. This health professional is a doctor, nurse or pharmacist with special training in the management of poisoning. Staff are supported by 24-hour availability of board-certified physician toxicologists who provide expert consultation and patient referral services for more complex poisoning cases. Call as often as you need. When dealing with toddlers, there is no such thing as calling too often.

A medical chart is initiated with your call. All information is confidential medical information. You will be asked a number of questions to ensure the highest level of care for your inquiry.

Sometimes the many questions asked may seem like a waste of crucial time. The specialist needs this information in order to assess the potential for toxicity. The specialist may need to calculate the amount of a medication or chemical that may be toxic to the individual. Knowing your child's weight and the amount of substance ingested is important and the specialist will work with you to make that determination. The questions will include:

General information about the call:

  • your name;
  • telephone number from where you are calling in the event the call is disconnected;
  • your relationship to the patient (self, parent, babysitter, etc.).

Information about the patient:

  • age;
  • weight or physical description;
  • current condition – Let the specialist know immediately if the patient is unconscious or seems to be having any trouble breathing, such as wheezing or a bluish appearance to the skin, lips, or nails;
  • general health condition – allergies and prescription and nonprescription medications, including Aspirin®, Tylenol®, Advil®, Motrin®, and herbal supplements.

Information about the toxic product:

  • the exact name from the product label, if available;
  • the total volume as listed on the container, even if it was partially empty before the incident;
  • the strength of the product – indicated commonly as mg, mcg, mg/ml, mcg/oz., mg/tsp. or %, look for the listing of active ingredients;
  • exposure – when it occurred and how long it lasted;
  • amount involved in the exposure.

You may be put on hold. The Poison Center has six incoming emergency lines. After your situation is assessed by the specialist, you may be asked to hold if a more critical situation arises. Remember, we consider all of our calls to be important; there are NO 'stupid' calls.

Connecticut Poison Control Center staff often provide follow-up calls to health care providers and callers at home to be sure the patient is doing well.