When to call the Poison Control Center, and when to call 911

Both resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

When to call 911

Call 911 if a person stops breathing, collapses, or has a seizure.

These are signs of an emergency in which the victim needs emergency medical help immediately.

When to call the MA & RI Poison Center

  • If someone may have been poisoned and the person has NOT stopped breathing, collapsed, or had a seizure (if the victim DOES stop breathing, collapses, or has a seizure, call 911 right away)
  • If you’re concerned about a possible poisoning
  • To ask a poison prevention question
  • To ask for poison prevention materials

If you match any of the criteria above, please call Poison Helpline 1-(800) 222-1222 right away.

When you call the MA & RI Poison Center:

  • Do not wait for the victim to look or feel sick
  • Do not treat the person yourself (especially, DO NOT treat with ipecac syrup, milk, or try and make the person throw up)
  • Be ready to provide information on the victim and the possible poisoning. Remain on the phone and follow instructions from the emergency operator.

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