May 12, 2011 – San Francisco, CA – California Poison Control System (CPCS) (http://www.calpoison.org) is spearheading poison education through a
mobile health (mHealth) initiative by launching a free iPhone application, Choose Your Poison, now available at the Apple app store in English
http://bit.ly/gg9vfG and Spanish. The app will appear in Spanish for any iOS device (Apple’s mobile operating System) with its language set to
Spanish, otherwise it will display in English.
The Choose Your Poison game is also available online at http://www.pillsvscandy.com. The game is fun, interactive and underscores
an important poisoning prevention message – that medications can easily be mistaken for candy. Last year, CPCS kicked off an SMS program with weekly
poison tips sent to cell phones by texting TIPS to 69866. Messages are also available in Spanish by texting PUNTOS to 69866.
“By 2012, more smart phones will be shipped than desktop computers, and by 2013, people using their mobile device to search the Internet will
overtake desktop Internet users for the first time (Morgan Stanley Research),” says CPCS communications director Iana Simeonov, who
spearheads technology and mHealth (mobile health) projects for the CPCS. “We wanted to be on the forefront of mHealth in the area of poison control
and since younger people 18 – 29 tend to search for health information on their phones – a group likely to be of child bearing age — we felt it was
important to make poison prevention information available this way.”
Out of more than four million poisonings that are reported each year to poison control centers across the country, it is estimated that over 90
percent of them occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children under the age of six.
“Choose Your Poison is for everyone — health care workers, parents, teens, doctors, pharmacists — anyone,” says Simeonov, pointing out that
children’s vitamins can look so much like candy that even pros sometimes can’t tell the difference.
In addition to SMS and Apps, CPCS hosts free “Ask an Expert” 15 minute sessions on California Poison Control’s Facebook page (June 3rd at 2 p.m.
PT) and on Twitter @poisoninfo. Followers can ask questions and get information from physician and pharmacist experts. For more information,
follow CPCS on Facebook at California Poison Control and on Twitter @poisoninfo.
CPCS is dedicated to providing residents with the most up-to-date information and 24-hour help in case of poisoning. In case of an
accidental poisoning, consumers should immediately call 1-800-222-1222 for advice. Pharmacists, nurses, physician-toxicologists
and poison information providers are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help. In most cases, a poison exposure can be safely managed in
your home, avoiding a call to 911 or a visit to a crowded hospital emergency room. Many parents think about contacting the poison control
services only in case of an emergency, but experts are available to answer questions any time.