Frequently Asked Questions
What COVID-19 social media resources are available?
Download our COVID-19 Social Media Toolkit. This resource provides social media information and resources about poisoning concerns related to COVID-19.
- The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has COVID-19 hotlines available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day to answer calls from the public:
- Health questions: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903
- Schools and child care questions: 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504
- MDH’s COVID-19 website and CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 website are the best places to get the most accurate and up-to-date information.
- Many poison centers across the country have been seeing an increase in calls related to hand sanitizer, bleach, and other cleaning products. This is most likely due to increased usage of these products as well as routines being disrupted and more time being spent at home.
- As you continue to clean and disinfect your home, please remember that products can be harmful if used in the wrong way, in the wrong amount, or by the wrong person. Some key prevention tips include:
- Always read the label
- Follow any safety warnings
- Dilute products as directed since using them at a higher concentration than recommended can be dangerous
- Ensure adequate ventilation by opening windows and doors
- Do not mix cleaning products as this can create hazardous gases
- Keep products up, away, & out of the sight and reach of young children
- Click here to download MDH’s Cleaning & Disinfecting for COVID-19 PDF handout. This resource has helpful information about safely using chemicals to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- For information in Spanish, please visit the CDC’s webpage on Cleaning And Disinfecting Your Home and click on “Other Languages” or go to the National Pesticide Information Center’s website.
- A poison is any potentially harmful substance taken into, or applied to the body.
- Exposure can occur by ingestion, inhalation, injection, and through the skin or eye.
- Almost any substance may be poisonous if you come into contact with excessive quantities.
- You should ALWAYS consult your physician or the Poison Center to determine if vomiting is necessary and/or safe.
- Home remedies SHOULD NEVER BE USED for making your child vomit, including syrup of ipecac, mustard, salt water, or sticking your finger or other objects in the child’s throat.
- If you suspect you or someone else has been poisoned, call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
- The Poison Help number will work anywhere in the United States and Poison Center specialists are trained to assess and make decisions on the best care for your situation.
- Our most frequent callers are caregivers of children under the age of 5 years old.
- The busiest time for the Poison Center is during the summer months since children play both inside and outside the house and there are more things available for them to get into.
- The busiest time of the day for the Poison Center is in the evenings between dinner and bedtime.
- The most common exposures are medications that resemble candy or flavored drinks since they may not only look good, but may also be made to taste good.
- Commonly, young children will drink cough and cold syrups, asthma syrups, liquid acetaminophen or Tylenol, and liquid antibiotics.
The Minnesota Poison Control System does not take calls related to animal poisonings. Please contact your veterinarian or call any of the resources listed below. A fee may be associated with calling these numbers. For more information, visit the Animal Poison Control Center.
- ASPCA Animal Poison Center
- Pet Poison Helpline