Welcome to the second installment of The Case Files of the IPC. Today’s case study involves taking medicine twice instead of once. It happens to the best of us. The two most common times to take medication is in the morning and at bedtime—times when there are a lot of other things going on. Also, many people take medication every day and popping a pill becomes part of the routine—something you do without really thinking about it. This can lead to forgetfulness—‘wait… did I take this already or didn’t I?’ Read more »
Here at the IPC we get a lot of interesting calls, as you might imagine. We get gross calls, calls about dares, calls about kids, calls about really toxic stuff, and calls about less toxic stuff. It is all just another day at the IPC for our experts, who manage over 80,000 poisoning cases each year. There are lessons to be learned in all of these cases and we’d like to share some with you throughout the next couple of months. Read more »
It’s that time of year! No, I’m not talking about the holidays, I’m talking about the ‘best of’ lists that everyone is writing now that 2013 is coming to a close. In honor of the 4th anniversary of the IPC blog, here are our top 10 most popular blogs since 2009: Read more »
It is that time of year where friends and family come together to share a very special holiday: Thanksgiving. As you are celebrating this wonderful time of the year, take a little time out to reflect on the value of the services that IPC provides you year around. Read more »
Future access to poison information services:
The first poison center in the U.S. started in Chicago in 1953 with a lone pharmacist, Louis Gdalman, a stack of carefully crafted index cards and a rotary phone. Over the ensuing years, the index cards became microfiche; microfiche became floppy discs; floppy discs became CDs. The lone pharmacist became several pharmacists, and over time, developed into a multi-disciplinary team of physicians, pharmacists and nurses. The phone however, has remained a constant. Read more »
(from the American Association of Poison Control Centers)
We had the wonderful opportunity to ask Deborah Blum, a New York Times Bestselling author, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and expert on poison subjects, a few questions. Blum is a self-proclaimed fan of the poison center system and shared her views on everything from science education to poison history. Read More
Halloween is just around the corner and little ghosts and goblins everywhere are gearing up for this night of fright! But parents BEWARE! As we begin to get into the spirit of Halloween, here are some quick pointers to ensure a hauntingly delightful Halloween Read more »
Sometimes the problem of safe medication disposal is one that reminds me of the proverbial saying “stuck between a rock and a hard place”. Read more »
The IPC receives calls on almost 74,000 exposure calls per year on a wide variety of different substances—medicines, household cleaners, plants/mushrooms, chemicals, bug bites and stings, food poisoning, recreational drugs, environmental toxins and more. If it’s potentially harmful, you can call the IPC about it! A common question we get is, “What substances do you get called on the most?” Here are the top 3: Read more »
Last week we discussed the ins and outs of the new Illinois medical marijuana bill. Being poison experts, we are naturally interested in the consequences of this law on poison prevention and child safety. How will the medical marijuana law affect kids in Illinois?
To help us answer this question, we searched for any data on accidental marijuana exposures by children in states that already have legalized medical marijuana. Read more »
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months, you have heard about the new Illinois Medical Marijuana bill. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (what a mouthful) was approved on August 1, 2013 making Illinois the 20th state to allow medical marijuana use. Read more »
Have you heard about the new stomach bug sweeping the U.S.? Recently, the media has reported an outbreak of a new stomach bug spreading through the Midwest. To date, there have been hundreds of cases of people affected by this critter, with the highest counts occurring in Iowa followed by Texas. Did you know that since this outbreak started in June, there have been 21 people hospitalized?
Everyone at some point has cringed while watching the Hollywood version of their profession butchered in a movie. For example, law enforcement hates how police are shown jumping rooftops, forensics experts take minutes to find evidence, and attorneys take a couple hours in a courtroom to convict a perpetrator. We in the poison business have the same cringe-worthy moments when watching movies where someone has taken a lethal ingestion but survives due to a ridiculously simple or outrageously dramatic approach to the treatment of a poisoning or overdose. We genuinely fear that the general public will believe in what they are viewing.
For the second time in 14 months, Proctor and Gamble (P&G) has changed the packaging of Tide Pods laundry detergent packets in order to reduce the risk of pediatric poisoning with the products. The first change was to modify the closure of the plastic tubs; the latest change is to make the packaging opaque so that curious children cannot see the colorful, candy-like contents and be tempted to open the package.
As a child, my mother and I would visit her family near the Panama Canal Zone for summer vacation, and invariably there would be stories of “Sal si puedes” – literally “leave if you can.” Sal si puedes was the derelict and dangerous opium smoking section of Panama City in the late 1800’s and first half of the 20th century. Legend has it the narcotic-laced smoke was so thick that people walking through that area would get a contact high and choose to stay a while; never to leave again for long. It was a place where fortunes, dreams and futures died. Read more »
Here at the IPC, we get a lot of interesting calls. The first time I tell someone what I do for a living, one of the usual questions I get is, “what was the craziest case you’ve ever had?” It is hard to choose just one, but what sticks in my memory most are the really, really gross ones.
Temperatures and grills are hot, bugs are swarming and the sky is a glow with fireworks…it’s the Fourth of July! While the Fourth is usually a time for joyous celebrations, like every holiday, it brings forth its own set of poisoning hazards to adults, children and pets. Before you and yours celebrate America’s birthday, review these tips on staying safe this holiday! Read more »
I can’t believe that I am still getting this question from the parents of adolescent ER patients who have overdosed on medications or drugs. “Pumping a stomach” ( also known by the fancy medical term gastric lavage ) was commonplace in the 1960’s to the early 1990’s, but has not been used extensively in nearly 20 years by most practitioners. Read more »
It’s that time of the year again. No, I’m not talking about beach season; I’m talking about snake season. Did you know the American Association of Poison Control Centers received 6,158 snake bite calls in the U.S. in 2009 ? Read more »
The Illinois Poison Center received 7,709 calls regarding medication errors in 2012. That’s over 10% of our total calls. It can happen to anyone. It has happened to me, in fact. I’ve been a pharmacist for over 10 years, and I work at the poison center—I should be immune to medicine mistakes, right? Wrong! Read more »
Now that the weather is finally warming up, we can actually see Summer approaching just around the corner. Summertime means kids out of school, days at the park and gossiping out on the porch in the late evenings. For everything good thing there is always a downside. Not only does the warm weather bring more people outdoors, but also brings out the dreaded biting, stinging insects! Read more »
Are you concerned about the toxicity and cancer causing potential of dihydrogen monoxide, also known as DHMO? What? Toxic?! Cancer causing potential?! GASP! If you have not heard of this substance, arm yourself with information at www.dhmo.org!
I take great pride in telling others that I work for the Illinois Poison Center. Our call center team is always available to answer questions or resolve concerns about potential drug interactions. But there is another team of qualified individuals- your local pharmacists- who are able to help prevent medication errors. Read more »
Poisoning is the second leading cause of injury related death in the U.S. In Illinois alone, the IPC fields over 74,000 calls on poisoning exposures each year—nationwide, poison centers manage over 2.3 million exposures. Those stats may surprise you but did you also know that more than 90% of all poisonings happen in the home? Many of these poisons are things we all use or come in contact with regularly. Here are the top 5 most toxic substances that are in your house right now: Read more »
Along with sunny days and warmer temperatures, spring also brings something most of us are not excited about … allergies. Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, and are a major financial burden with an estimated $18 billion spent annually on prevention and treatment.1 And like any enemy, allergies change tactics. In the case of allergy triggers, they change with the seasons. Springtime allergens predominantly include tree pollens, followed by grass and weed pollens in the summer, and molds in the fall.