Mach 16, 2021: What is National Poison Prevention Week?

Greetings from the Medical Director! I have now been Medical Director for approximately 2.5 years and very much enjoy working with all the staff and the Department of Health. The Tennessee Poison Center (TPC) staff is a great group of nurses, pharmacists and physicians who answer the hotline phones 24/7 (with Toxicologist backup) to answer questions about poisonings in the home and help physicians manage overdose patients. NPPW is March 21st-27th and our outreach consists of multiple presentations, distribution of the American Association of Poison Centers (AAPCC) tool kit (materials with daily themes to schools, childcare, community educators, libraries, and hospitals). Magnets, stickers, bookmarks, pencils, and prevent a poisoning cards are also available free of charge to Tennessee residents and health care organizations. In addition to the Poison Help Hotline and poison prevention education, the TPC provides 24/7 surveillance for biochemical threats (syndromic surveillance) as our data is uploaded to Washington DC approximately every 9 minutes.


The third full week in March was designated by Congress in 1961 to promote poison prevention and poison center awareness. The  AAPCC  has multiple events for the week located here: This year’s theme is “Prepare. Prevent. Protect.” Over 90% of poisonings occur in the home with approximately half involving children 5 years of age or younger. The increase in calls regarding bleach, hand sanitizer, and miscellaneous/all-purpose cleaners during the pandemic at the TPC illustrates the importance of preparing a home to protect against poisonings.


Please encourage patients, relatives, and friends to ensure that they have the 1-800-222-1222 number in their phones and to call us with any poison exposure or questions!


This question was prepared by Rebecca Bruccoleri, MD, Medical Director

Tennessee Poison Center


The Poison Center saved the state of TN 28.6 million dollars last year by preventing unnecessary ED visits.   It is also a valuable resource for health care providers who are treating poisoned patients. Last year we answered over 50,000 calls.  Additionally, in the past year, we partnered with the Dept of Health to provide a Coronavirus Information Hotline for the residents in the entire state of Tennessee.  We’ve come a long way from the day we opened the door in 1988 to answer 18,000 calls.  Kudos to our staff who ensure we provide the highest standard of care.  (some of them helped open the door in 1988-a testament to their expertise and commitment).  ds


I am interested in any questions you would like answered in the Question of the Week.  Please email me with any suggestion at


Donna Seger, MD

Executive Director

Tennessee Poison Center

Poison Help Hotline: 1-800-222-122