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Have a poison-related question? Ask our experts!


You have questions, we have answers. Take a look at some of our frequently asked questions, and submit your own for our experts to answer.

Does drinking milk immediately after swallowing poison coat the stomach and prevent harm?
Milk is not a remedy or antidote for poisons, nor does it protect the stomach from an ingested chemical or toxin. Other myths include having a person eat burned toast, raw eggs or mustard. None of these are a remedy.

Does poisoning result in immediate symptoms such as vomiting, skin color changes or trouble breathing?
Not always. Many chemicals or medications can cause unseen damage to internal organs. Poisons can also cause serious changes in blood pressure or heart rhythm which cannot be detected without special equipment. If you suspect a poisoning, call us immediately at (800) 222-1222.

Are baby snake bites more harmful than adult snake bites?
For North American snake species, juvenile and adult snake venom is identical, and either can have toxic effects. Severity varies based on the amount of venom injected, and the size and health status of the bitten person. In about 25 percent of bites, no venom is actually injected.

Is poison ivy contagious?
The rash itself is not contagious. It is caused by oils from the poison ivy plant itself. Rashes may not develop for 24 to 72 hours after contact from the plant. By the time a rash develops, it is unlikely that a person would still have the plant oils present on the skin.

Does urinating on jellyfish stings alleviate discomfort?
No. You can “deactivate” the venom by using ocean salt water or vinegar on the wound. Urine is not recommended because it has a different pH than vinegar and ocean water.

Can getting suntan lotion in your eye cause blindness?
Suntan lotions may get into your eye either by your hands or when sweating as the suntan lotion drips off the face into the eye. Common problems include eye irritation and stinging, mild redness or tearing and the risk of allergic reactions.