Delay among the general public in telephoning a poison center

Vet Hum Toxicol. 1996 Apr;38(2):92-5.


Delay in seeking treatment for poisonings can hinder patient recovery. Our study examined delay in notifying a poison center about green tobacco sickness (GTS), a form of nicotine poisoning resulting from dermal contact with tobacco leaves. We conducted a follow-up survey of 55 cases of GTS reported by telephone to the kentucky Regional Poison Center in 1993. The "delay" group (38.2% of the cases) was defined as those callers who stated in the follow-up report that they should have phoned the poison center sooner than they did. Characteristics of the callers who delayed and the GTS patients they reported were compared with characteristics of the "non-delay" group. Delay was associated with callers' awareness of the poison center's expertise in agricultural poisonings and with age and sex of the patient. Our findings point to the need to target groups such as farmers with an educational campaign to make them more aware of the extent of the poison center's services and to encourage timely reporting of occupational poisonings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Databases, Factual
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Hotlines / standards*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / poisoning*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Plant Leaves
  • Plants, Toxic
  • Poison Control Centers*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco


  • Nicotine