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Interesting IPC Facts That You May Not Know!

Posted: September 18th, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

We like to use the IPC blog to educate our readers about potentially harmful substances, trends the IPC has identified, or seasonal safety tips.  But this week, we thought we would toot our own horn a bit and tell you about some of the cool things you probably didn’t know about the IPC.

Did you know?

–    The IPC is the oldest and one of the largest poison centers in the U.S. It was founded in 1953 and serves nearly 13 million people.

–    The IPC is a great resource for medical information of all sorts.  During past public health incidents, such as the H1N1 novel influenza outbreak in 2010, the IPC turned into state’s influenza hotline to answer questions about the virus, symptoms and vaccinations.  We can do it all!

–    The experts who answer the phones at the IPC are all highly-trained health care professionals. Call center staff are required to take a certification test from the American Association of Poison Control Centers to be accredited as a Certified Specialist in Poison Information (CSPI). This year, IPC staff taking the exam scored more than 20 percent higher than the national average!

–    The IPC helps train around 160 pharmacy and medical students each year- educating the next generation of health care providers in medical toxicology!

–    90 percent of calls from the public to the IPC are treated over the phone with simple first aid instructions, at no cost to the caller.  This prevents unnecessary emergency department visits (which cost $1,150 on average), not to mention a lot of unnecessary stress and wasted time!

–    To keep the IPC funded for one year, it would cost just 30 cents per Illinois resident. (Not a bad deal when you consider that the IPC saves the state $50 million in unnecessary medical costs each year!)

–    Less than 6 percent of hospitals in Illinois have a medical toxicologist on staff, so the IPC is an invaluable resource for health care providers in need of immediate expert treatment advice for a patient who has been poisoned. More than 27 percent of calls received by the IPC come from health care providers, including physicians and nurses from hospitals all around the state. Experts using our expertise- now that’s good health care in action!

Here is a picture that one caller sent to the IPC after she found her son munching on a mushroom while they were playing outside- fortunately the experts at the IPC determined that it was not a toxic mushroom.

–    If someone ingests a mushroom and they don’t know if it is toxic or not, they can email a picture of the mushroom to the IPC where the picture will be examined by a mycologist (or mushroom expert).  We’re pretty high-tech over here!

But what’s the coolest fact about the IPC? It’s that the IPC cares for more than 85,000 calls a year from people throughout Illinois. Experts are available to answer your questions and provide you with treatment advice any time, day or night, just call 1-800-222-1222!

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  3. The downside of inadequate poison center funding
  4. The State of Poison Centers: Is it the End or the Beginning?
  5. Facts About Snake Bites in Illinois And Some Ways to Keep Safe


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