Children's of Alabama

Children's of Alabama launched a new mobile application designed to identify toxic plants and venomous and poisonous animals, offering Alabamians a simple resource to identify potentially dangerous plants, insects, snakes and common household items from a mobile device.

The app - entitled "Poison Perils of Alabama" - is free and can be downloaded for both iOS and Android devices. The resource was designed to make parents, grandparents, teachers and other caregivers aware of the plants, snakes, insects and household items that the Alabama Poison Information Center (APIC) at Children's receives calls about each year. This poison hotline (1-800-222-1222) is one of the few services at Children's that treats adults as well as children.

"Poison Perils was designed to provide key information about Alabama's flora, fauna and also common household items, that is critical for parents, teachers and other caregivers to know in order to keep children, and themselves, safe," said Dr. Ann Slattery of the APIC. "We believe this is the first and only resource of its kind in Alabama and think this information is critical due to the state's amazing array of biodiversity."

The app purposely does not provide treatment recommendations, because each exposure is unique and needs to be assessed by calling a specialist in poison information (nurses and pharmacists) at 1-800-222-1222. Treatment recommendations are not one-size-fits-all and fortunately the majority of poisoning can be observed at home after evaluation.

Alabama has six types of venomous snakes, more than double that number of poisonous insects and scores of toxic plants. Additionally, poisonings from household items also result in frequent calls to the APIC. Last year, in fact, the APIC handled more than 50,000 calls and provided more than 60,000 follow-up calls to assure appropriate treatment and outcomes.

Dr. Slattery said the app also serves as a hotline to dial the APIC in an emergency - every screen has a one-touch shortcut to call the APIC rather than dial the center's 10-digit telephone number. Without an identification resource like this app, she said, parents and caregivers must rely on trying to describe an insect, plant, snake or household item in question, losing precious time in the event of an emergency.

The application was developed by MotionMobs, a custom software consulting and development firm in Birmingham specializing in iOS, Android, and web development. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and UAB, helped make this resource possible according to Dr. Slattery.

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