The Learning Center

The Learning Center

 poisons in a row

What is a poison?

A poison is any substance or product that can cause injury, illness, or death if it gets inside the body the wrong way or in the wrong amount. The number one source of poisoning for all ages is medicine: prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal. Other potential poisons include cleaning products, pesticides, automotive products, workplace chemicals, plants, alcohol, and personal care products like mouthwash, skin creams, or cosmetics. Some animals are poisonous, like snakes, jellyfish, scorpions, or spiders. Some poisons are in the air, like carbon monoxide gas.   Learn more about specific poisons here.

Most poisonings are unintentional.

  • A woman takes her husband's prescribed medicine instead of her own by mistake.
  • A toddler grabs a bottle of laundry detergent from a basket and swallows a mouthful.
  • A man reaches for a bottle of rust remover and accidentally sprays himself in the face.

Like all accidents, poisoning is preventable. Learn to protect yourself and your family with these poisoning prevention tips for adults, for children, and for people who take medicine.

hrsa video english

Watch this short video to learn why you should program the toll-free Poison Help number (1-800-222-1222) into your phone.