We need to know some details, for example:
Is the victim you, your child, your friend, your work mate, your husband, etc.?
For a child, we also need to know their age.
It is often important to know the weight of the victim, especially when the incident involves medicines and children.
We need as much detail as possible. It is best if you can bring the container to the telephone so you can find the information we ask for.
Helpful information includes:
If the poisoning involves a plant, we will need to know the name of the plant before we can give advice. Attempting to identify a plant over the telephone is not reliable. To make the situation easier it is best that you know the names (common name and/or botanical name) for all the plants in your house or garden before such an incident occurs.
A whiff, a mouthful, a cupful, a splash, a lick? Checking how much of the substance is missing can help, you may need to count the remaining tablets or measure out the remaining liquid from a bottle of medicine.
Did it just happen, or was it yesterday, or weeks or months ago?
Is the person OK? If it is a child, are they distressed or do they seem to be quite happy and normal? Is there any coughing or choking? For skin exposures – is there any sign of skin irritation, broken skin or burns? For inhaled poisons – is there coughing, wheezing or any other breathing symptom or difficulty?
Has the victim had fluids to drink, has the skin been washed, has the eye been washed, etc.? Did someone induce vomiting? If so, how was this done?
It is important that the Victorian Poisons Information Centre be able to contact you after your call. There are numerous reasons for this:
Your phone number and any other information you give us remains confidential. We do not keep a log of telephone numbers, we do not know how many times you have called – and we do not know if you call frequently.