South Texas Poison Center Highlights National Poison Prevention Week

SAN ANTONIO (March 19, 2013) — The South Texas Poison Center joins poison centers around the country in marking National Poison Prevention Week March 17-23 by providing information and presentations to schools and at health fairs in the region.

Poisoning is now the leading cause of death from injuries in the United States. Since 1962, the President of the United States has proclaimed the third week of March as National Poison Prevention Week to raise awareness about the dangers of poisoning and how to prevent it.

This year’s observance will focus on poisoning-prevention themes, with a different theme each day. The South Texas Poison Center will post information on each topic on its website at, and Miguel Fernández, M.D., a medical toxicologist and the director of the South Texas Poison Center, will be available for interviews.

    • Tuesday, March 19 – Poison Centers: Protecting Health While Saving You Time and Money
    • Wednesday, March 20 – Poisonings Span a Lifetime
    • Thursday, March 21 – Home, Safe, Home
    • Friday, March 22 – Spotlight on Prescription Painkillers

“The South Texas Poison Center and America’s other 56 poison centers are committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of every American through poisoning prevention and free, confidential, expert medical services,” said Dr. Fernández, who is also an emergency room physician and professor of surgery with UT Medicine San Antonio, the clinical practice of the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “Our poison center responds to calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help those who have been exposed to toxic substances.”

The South Texas Poison Center is also sponsoring a poster contest for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students, and deadline for entries has been extended to March 22. Poster contest information can be found here: or on a link in the center of the poison center’s home page at

In 2011, U.S. poison centers answered more than 3.6 million calls, including about 2.3 million calls about human exposures to poisons, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. About 90 percent of the people who called with poisoning emergencies were treated at home following the advice of poison center experts, saving millions of dollars in medical expenses.

“Poisoning can occur at any time and to anyone,” Fernández said. “The South Texas Poison Center helps those who have been exposed to a poison and answers questions about a potential poisoning. We also reach out to our communities with information about how poisonings occur and ways to prevent them. Prevention is the best possible medicine.”

The South Texas Poison Center covers 47 counties in South Texas and answers more than 200 calls each day. The South Texas Poison Center is staffed by highly trained medical professionals including medical doctors, nurses, and pharmacists.

“If the unthinkable happens, it’s good to know help is just a phone call away,” Fernández said. “Program your cell phone with the Poison Help number and post it near your home phone: 1-800-222-1222.”

  • National Poison Prevention Week, established by the U.S. Congress, is commissioned by the Poison Prevention Week Council, an organization of public and private partners committed to reducing poisonings and promoting poisoning prevention.


UT Medicine San Antonio is the clinical practice of the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. With more than 700 doctors – all faculty from the School of Medicine – UT Medicine is the largest medical practice in Central and South Texas, practicing in more than 100 different medical specialties and sub-specialties. Primary care doctors and specialists see patients in private practice at UT Medicine’s clinical home, the Medical Arts & Research Center (MARC), located in the South Texas Medical Center at 8300 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio 78229. Most major health plans are accepted, and there are clinics and physicians at several local and regional hospitals, including CHRISTUS Santa Rosa, University Hospital and Baptist Medical Center. Call (210) 450-9000 to schedule an appointment, or visit the Web site at for a complete listing of clinics and phone numbers.

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