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Advice needed Big rise in calls to poison hotline

Medications are the most common source of poisonings

(Keystone)

A record number of people called Switzerland’s poison control hotline in 2015. Most of the reported cases involved poisoning by medicine, one third of which were intentional.

Last year, 38,396 people called the national hotline run by Tox Info Suisse, which offers medical advice following suspected poisoning cases. More than 11,000 of those cases involved medication. Some 30 people poison themselves with medication every day in Switzerland, and more than half of those cases involve children, according to Tox Info Suisseexternal link.

Other sources of toxins were household products, plants, and industrial products.

Hugo Kupferschmidt, director of Tox Info Suisse, said that medicinal poisonings were especially potent and therefore tend to have more difficult outcomes than average. He also said that 11 people died due to poisoning in Switzerland last year.

In the last 50 years, the number of poison control questions have increased from 2,000 to more than 28,000. In 2015, more than 90% of calls to Tox Info Suisse were due to contact with toxic substances, while the remaining cases involved preventative measures.

In 2014, the poison control hotline was called 37,419 times, according to Tox Info Suisse.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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