CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A certain green character that many in the mountain state and across the country has grown up learning about is turning 50 this year.

The West Virginia Poison Center (WVPC) joins poison centers and poison prevention partners worldwide to celebrate National Poison Prevention Week March 21 – 27, 2021. This year marks Mr. Yuk’s 50th birthday.

This year’s West Virginia Poison Center’s Poison Prevention Week focuses on how to be poison-safe at home.

“The West Virginia Poison Center is committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of every American through poison prevention and free, confidential, expert medical services,” said Carissa McBurney, Community Outreach Coordinator. “Our poison center responds to calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to help those who have been exposed to toxic substances.”

The West Virginia Poison Center also explained that it also reaches out to West Virginia communities with information about how poisonings occur and ways to prevent them. “Prevention is the best possible way to stay poison safe,” McBurney stated.

In 2020, the West Virginia Poison Center received nearly 16,000 poison exposure calls. The majority of our calls involve children, but anyone at any age can be poisoned. “Poisonings can occur at any time and to anyone, however, most poisonings occur at home,” McBurney said.

Other locations poisonings occur are in the workplace, schools, healthcare facilities, and elsewhere. In addition to the public, health care professionals rely on West Virginia Poison Center medical experts in poison information to assist in poisoning exposures.

In fact, more than 20% of initial calls come from health care providers. The WV Poison Center has remained open 24 hours a day throughout the pandemic, according to a release.

Celebration of National Poison Prevention Week is a great opportunity to highlight how people can prevent poisonings and raise awareness about the immediate availability of medical experts at the West Virginia Poison Center.

“If the unthinkable happens, it’s good to know help is just a phone call away,” McBurney concluded. “Save the West Virginia Poison Center’s number in your cell phone and post it in your home. 1-800-222-1222.”