(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 … 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 … 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 … 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.
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … 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 … more
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 … 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 … 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!
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 … more
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.
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? … 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 … more
In January of this year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released an updated report on energy drinks based on Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) data. According to the report, energy drink related visits to the ER has increased dramatically as the sales of the products increased. Energy drinks are flavored, sweet … more
On Saturday, April 27, 2013, the Drug Enforcement Administration will be sponsoring a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day for the sixth time in the past 30 months. Americans will have an opportunity to empty their medicine cabinets, bedside tables, and kitchen drawers of unwanted, unused, and expired prescription drugs and take them to collection sites … more
At a time when many citizens were confused about what synthetic drugs were, the Illinois Poison Center was often their first call for help. Unfortunately, as the President of the To the Maximus Foundation (TTM), I know the side effects of synthetic drugs all too well. The foundation was founded after the death of my … more
As a father of three young children, I’ve seen my children get into most everything around the house. Young children’s curiosity can often put them at risk for exposure to a potentially harmful substance. In fact, close to 49 percent of all calls to the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) are regarding children 5 years of … more