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Food Poisoning? Or Poisoned Food?

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

By Carol

It’s almost Thanksgiving, so this week’s blog will focus on what’s really important this time of year:  Food!  We’ve already written about food poisoning, so this time let’s talk about poisoned food.  If you’ve read or heard any of  the IPC’s poison prevention tips, then you know some of the most important ones are:

  • Do not store cleaning products or chemicals near food
  • Keep chemicals, cleaners and other products in their original containers

Failure to heed this sage advice has resulted in some very unpleasant mealtimes for some of our callers over the years.  Below are all true stories of cases the IPC has managed regarding accidentally poisoned food.  Read these, and then do a once-over of your pantry to make sure you don’t have an accidental poisoning waiting to happen. Read more »


Battle of the Bad Bed Bugs

Posted: November 16th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Tony Burda, Carol DesLauriers, Abra Berg (Student Resident)

If even the briefest mention of bed bugs is enough to make you itch, imagine spending hours researching this topic! However, for the sake of our readers, we stalwartly slathered on the calamine and dove right in.

If you have been following the news in the past year or two, the problem of bed bug infestation in private residences, travel lodges, schools, and even theaters is all to familiar. Although no official statistics exist regarding the incidence of bed bug infestation, www.bedbugregistry.com cites 20,000 reports of bed bugs since 2006. Read more »


Toxicology in a Combat Support Hospital

Posted: November 9th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

In observance of Veteran’s Day (11/11) we invite you to take a journey into the life of one soldier’s remarkable experience while deployed overseas in Mosul, Iraq.

Shortly after finishing my fellowship in medical toxicology, I began an active duty commitment with the United States Army.  Within eight months I was deployed to the 47th Combat Support Hospital (CSH, pronounced “cash”) in Mosul, Iraq.  My primary role was an emergency medicine physician, working in the ER caring for soldiers, local nationals, and occasionally insurgents.  Unless injured from combat operations, our CSH didn’t provide medical care for Iraqi civilians.  Occasionally we made exceptions to provide compassionate care for children who needed our help.  As a toxicologist, I didn’t have many cases in Iraq.  There was an occasional scorpion sting but not much else…   

Life was fairly simple:  take care of patients, exercise, read, sleep- then repeat daily.  We joked that it was like the movie “Groundhog Day,” where every day seemed to be a repeat of the day before.  Frequent incoming mortar fire kept most of us military rookies from sleeping well at night; often feeling on-edge, waiting for the next round of mortars to hit.  Read more »


Beware of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Extreme Weather

Posted: November 2nd, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Every year like clockwork, the Illinois Poison Center sends out safety messages on how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning during the fall and winter months.  Since the heater was on in my house last night, the timing seems just about right for this year’s piece, especially since I had recently seen an article regarding carbon monoxide poisoned patients in our region a few days before.

This past week however, Illinois was pummeled with high winds and rain followed by unseasonably cold weather.  The upcoming winter is also predicted to be one marked by severe cold and higher than average snow fall with some pundits calling this year to be a “wintry battle zone”.  This made me think about the other risk factors in carbon monoxide poisoning – the loss of power during extreme weather and severe winter storms. Read more »