News Release

March 21, 2005

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777

When Eyes Behind Your Head Aren’t Enough

Poison Prevention Week March 20-26

FARMINGTON, CONN. – When Kelly Wilson realized her two-year old son ingested a small amount of hand sanitizer, she immediately called the Connecticut Poison Control Center at UConn Health Center. “Sometimes people are reluctant to call or wait too long,” said poison education specialist Amy Hanoian-Fontana, “but Wilson did the right thing, she called as soon as she realized what happened.”

Wilson was advised to keep an eye on the boy and watch for vomiting, unusual sleepiness or difficulty in walking, and to give him a snack. The sanitizer contained alcohol and even a small amount in children can be a problem by causing a drop in their blood sugar, explained Bernard Sangalli, administrative director of the poison center. In this case, the amount ingested was just a sip.

“An hour later, we checked back to see if the boy was having any reaction, and he was fine,” said Sangalli.

When callers to the poison center learn that they don’t have to worry, they sometimes question whether they should have called at all. “We want the public to know that our specialists are here to provide not only life-saving advice, but information that relieves anxiety and brings peace of mind,” said Hanoian-Fontana. “That’s our job, too.”

More than two million calls are received in poison control centers throughout the country and Connecticut’s center gets about 34,000 calls last year. During National Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26, centers nationwide take the opportunity to remind adults of the dangers of using and storing potentially poisonous substances around children, the most likely victims of an accidental poisoning with 52 percent occurring in children under the age of six.

“Young children are curious, and it doesn’t take more than a minute for them to get into trouble,” said Sangalli. “And, sometimes, that trouble involves a poisoning.”

If you suspect a poisoning, don’t wait to see what happens. Call the Connecticut Poison Control Center at UConn Health Center at 1-800-222-1222. Keep the number handy by the phone. All calls to the Connecticut Poison Control Center are confidential. Wilson chose to share her story to let others know that helpful, informed professionals are available to help and that all calls are important. The CPCC is the source of poison information, not only to the general population, but also to hospitals, physicians and healthcare providers.

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

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