What Happens at Banner Poison Control Center

Got a Bite? Got a Sting? Swallow Something You Shouldn't Have?

Courtesy Banner Poison Control Center

More than 100,000 calls from Maricopa County residents and visitors come into the Banner Poison Control Center every year. It is a free service, operating 24 hours per day 365 days per year. As vital support system for people who find themselves in all types of harrowing situations, I know that many of my readers have utilized the service and appreciate their expertise.

The Banner Poison Control Center graciously welcomed me during a visit to the call center so I could see first-hand what happens there.

The Most Common Calls

The most common calls, irrespective of age are:

  1. Scorpion stings
  2. Analgesics (pain medicines)
  3. Sedatives/sleeping pills/psychiatric medicines
  4. Household cleaners
  5. Personal care items/cosmetics

The most common calls relating to children younger than five years of age are:

  1. Cosmetic/personal care products
  2. Analgesics (pain medicines)
  3. Household cleaning substances
  4. Bites and stings (venom related)
  5. Foreign bodies/toys

When is Peak Season?

It doesn’t a surprise me that there is a higher call volume as we move into the spring, summer and fall seasons. Not only is that when we experience more bites and stings from scorpions, bees and snakes, but this is also when there is an increased usage of pesticides and pool chemicals.

Nearly 95% of calls received by the unit are from people who turn out to have noncritical reactions to the issue about which they called. Notwithstanding that statistic, don't hesitate to call -- you never know when you will be one of those callers that needs emergency treatment.

After You Call Banner Poison Control

The Banner Poison Control Center follows up on most of the calls they receive, especially if the caller requests it. Some calls necessitate a follow up call (sometimes two or three), for example, children who swallow certain kinds of medicines, children who are stung by a scorpion, all rattlesnake calls, adults who take the wrong medicine or too much medicine, to name a few examples.

Two Things You Might Not Know

  1. Banner Poison Control Center is staffed with healthcare professionals and not volunteers. Nurse Specialists who answer the phones are required to pass a National Certification exam
  2. Banner Poison Control Center participates in a national surveillance program which is currently the only near real-time system in place to monitor potentially critical trends in reported symptoms which could indicate a biological/chemical threat in the United States.

And That Number Again Is….


Lines are open 365 days per year, 7 days per week, 24 hours per day. There is no charge for this service.

For general information, visit Banner Poison Control online.

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