Over 10,000 enquires to National Poisons Information Centre

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There were 10,281 enquiries to the National Poisons Information Centre  in 2022, a small decrease compared to 2021, according to the Centre’s annual report for the year. The Annual Report is based on data collected from enquiries to the NPIC from members of the public, healthcare professionals and others.

October 2022 was the busiest month of the year with 949 enquiries made. The majority of poisoning enquiries related to children aged 14 years and younger,  with over 40% aged 1-4 years old.

The NPIC is responsible for providing information to healthcare professionals, to assist them in the management of acute poisoning. The Centre also run the Public Poisons Information Line for members of the public who are concerned about accidental poisoning.

Once again, the annual report identifies paracetamol and ibuprofen as the medicines most commonly associated with queries to the centre in 2022.

For the 2022 Annual Report, a focus was placed on poisoning events with batteries, foreign bodies and toys which are common household items that may obstruct if ingested. Batteries can cause toxicity if ingested or with skin or eye exposures. There were 86 enquiries related to batteries, 94% of these related to accidental exposures with almost 91% involving ingestion. 79% of queries related to cases of children 10 years and under.

Dr Edel Duggan, Clinical Directorof the NPIC noted “2022 was another busy year for staff at the NPIC. We placed a focus on batteries this year and worked with the HSE the promote safety messaging regarding batteries in the run-up to Christmas to avoid accidental ingestion. We also saw an increase in incidences of accidental poisoning with reed diffusers among children. This can be complicated by delays in treatments as there is often a lack of a hazard label on the diffuser bottle itself meaning appropriate medical treatment can be slowed down until ingredients are ascertained. We worked alongside the HSA on an inspection campaign to ensure reed diffusers are adequately labelled.

 “The Public Poisons Information Line is available 7 days a week between 8am and 10pm for queries from the public, aimed at parents, where we can rapidly advise if you need to seek urgent medical attention for your child. Outside of these hours parents should contact their GP service or a hospital emergency department. Healthcare professionals can contact the NPIC 24 hours a day every day.”