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IPC’s Top Ten Blogs

Posted: December 10th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

IPC magnet

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 »


The Infamous Words… “My Child Ate…”

Posted: January 17th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Grandfather posing with grandchildrenAs an experienced babysitter/nanny and parent of a toddler, we’ve seen young children eat or get into everything from crayons to lotions to poop! The first reaction is usually…OMG; then “what should I do?”; then sheer panic. Sound familiar? Read more »


Hot Dogs, Button Batteries, and Pediatric ER Visits

Posted: May 29th, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The IPC wrote a blog several months ago on the potential dangers of button batteries during the past holiday season.  As an update, a new study recently published in Pediatrics, shows that ER visits related to batteries have doubled in the past 20 years; most of the increase has occurred in the past 8 years as button batteries have become more ubiquitous in the marketplace. Read more »


Laundry Detergent ‘Pods’: A new product formulation with unexpected toxicity

Posted: May 22nd, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

For years the IPC has received calls involving a child getting into laundry detergent.  Luckily, an unintentional taste of powder or liquid laundry detergent by a child is expected to cause minimal toxicity: throat or stomach irritation at the worst. In fact, most children don’t develop any symptoms at all.  However, over the past couple months we (and the other poison centers in the country) have been seeing a new formulation of laundry detergent that is causing alarming toxicity.   Read more »


“Poison”…What’s it Really Mean?

Posted: February 28th, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

March is Illinois Poison Prevention Month

Say the word “poison” and most people conjure up an image of chemicals in a container marked with a skull and cross-bones, arsenic or even Agent Orange.   But these are only a few of the thousands of substances the experts in the call center deal with that involve children and adults of all ages,  ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds.  A majority of the calls involve medication errors, medication/drug reactions; cleaning/beauty care/automotive products, insect/animal bites and stings, plants, food, vitamins/supplements, lead, carbon monoxide and sometimes even regular drinking water, etc.  Basically…anything and everything has the potential to be harmful; Read more »


New Illinois Law Expands Allergy Treatment Options in Schools

Posted: November 8th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

How you would like your child’s school year to start out something like this: It is a typical day during lunchtime at the local elementary school cafeteria.  A kindergartner with a severe peanut allergy trades lunch with a friend.  Little does he know, the shared cookie contains peanut butter. The child develops a red rash, swelling around the eyes and has some trouble breathing within minutes of eating the cookie.  Pretty scary, right? The good news, schools are now better equipped to deal with life-threatening allergic reactions such as this thanks to the passage of new legislation which allows the stocking and administration of epinephrine auto-injectors (commonly referred to as Epi-pens™) in Illinois schools. Read more »


“My Child Ate…!” Honorable Mentions

Posted: October 11th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

There are just way too many “My Child Ate…” scenarios for us to write about! However here are a few honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the “My Child Ate…” series but are just as important:

  • “My Child Ate… The Dog’s Food”

Although it might be uberly gross to discover that your child has forgone your dinner delight for a canine cuisine, there’s no need to worry. Eating a mouthful of dog or cat food poses no immediate harm and toxicity should not be an issue. Read more »


“My Child Ate…Something Around the House!”

Posted: September 27th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The blog series “My Child Ate…” continues this week with us taking a look at the top ten things children are getting into around the house.  Each year, poison centers receive over one million calls involving children ages five and under.  Have you ever wondered what in the world kids are getting into? Well check out our top 10 list below:

  1. Cosmetics/Personal Care Products: “It’s pretty and pink.  It’s easy to open, and looks like a  fruit drink.” Read more »

“My Child Ate…Poop!”

Posted: September 20th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Welcome to the IPC’s second installment of the “my child ate…” blog series.  Last week Mike explored the dangers of prescription medications, and this week I am going to talk about stuff kids eat that is really, really gross.   Like poop, for example.  Do kids really eat poop, you may ask?  They sure do.  All shapes, sizes and species.  I can even give you a ranking of the most common poop calls we get:

1.  Human

Most of the time, for babies, this is in the form of their own poop.  It is the most common poop call because, well… it’s the most accessible—it comes right out of them! Read more »


“My Child Ate…Grandma’s Medicine”

Posted: September 13th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Over the next 4 weeks the IPC staff will contribute some of their most compelling cases from the call center that often start with three words, “my child ate…” We hope you enjoy this blog series, and we encourage you to share your own “My Child Ate…” stories or your poison center experience.

There is a burgeoning fascination with the strange things children eat.  If one were to do an internet search on the three words “my child ate”, it looks like a lot of children are eating Tums, poop (yes, poop, human and pet), pennies, crayons, deodorant and a host of household products.  Going beyond internet search, the TLC channel even has a TV show on the subject and has casting calls for the show “Your Child at What?” Read more »


Too Much of A Good Thing…

Posted: August 30th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Making sense of new voluntary dosing guidelines on acetaminophen containing products: Minimizing liver damage associated with a common medicine.

Acetaminophen is one of the most common over-the-counter (OTC) medications, appearing in over 600 OTC products. It is an effective pain reliever and fever reducer when used as directed, though it can cause severe liver damage if overused. In fact, acetaminophen overdose is the most common cause of acute liver failure requiring a liver transplant in the United States. Read more »


Read the Label before you Bite into that Brownie!

Posted: July 5th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

What’s the latest and newest drug to hit the consumer market? No it’s not a pill, a syringe, an inhaler, a patch… it’s a brownie!  Can you believe it? Read more »


Coming Soon to a Pharmacy Near You…

Posted: June 21st, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

New Pediatric Acetaminophen Dosing Guidelines and Formulation Changes

If you are in tune to healthcare and medical news stories, you probably already know that overdosing or chronically using too much of the popular non-aspirin product called acetaminophen may cause serious and possibly even fatal liver damage.  Read more »


Top 10 Drug and Poison Safety Tips

Posted: June 7th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

June is National Safety Month.  Did you know that potentially hazardous substances can be found in nearly every home?  Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe from potentially toxic exposures!

1. Store all medications, chemicals and household products out of reach and out of sight of children—ideally locked up. Read more »


Top 5 Bug Spray Questions: Home Edition

Posted: May 24th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

This time of year, the Illinois Poison Center’s call volume starts to increase for a variety of reasons. One of  those reasons has to do with the use of pesticides in the home.  Here are the top 5 most frequently asked questions about insecticides:

1. Can I use outdoor-use pesticides inside the house if I have a really bad bug problem?

No!  There is a major difference in the safety level of the two products. Most Read more »


What’s in a name?

Posted: May 17th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.

Evolving technology, demographics, and regulatory changes are all expanding the type and scope of services that Poison Control Centers have historically provided.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about the limitations of the Mr. Yuk logo; we are not “just the place that Mom’s call” anymore.

Last year, the IPC received about 36,500 calls on children 5 and under.  We provided triage and treatment recommendations that allowed families to treat a stunning 96% of these kids at home without an expensive or stressful trip to the ER.  Hmmmm, maybe that sounds like the place that mom’s call after all. Read more »


Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

Posted: February 22nd, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A decision to cut federal poison center funding is penny wise and pound foolish…

“Penny-wise and Pound Foolish” refers to unwise thrift, “like the man who lost his horse from his penny wisdom in saving the expense of buying new shoes when the old one was loose” or  “locating the gas station with the lowest gas prices, but driving 20 minutes out of the way to save $0.05 per gallon, or “parking and “just running in” without feeding the meter a quarter, but returning to find a parking ticket attached to your windshield.” In looking to reduce expenses, one can focus on the wrong things and doing so, neglect the larger picture and spend more money in the long run.

The House bill HR. 1 inclusion to essentially eliminate federal poison center support is just such an example.  Read more »


Frightening Facts About Food-Grade Hydrogen Peroxide

Posted: February 8th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Perhaps you may have seen or heard of the perceived positive health claims of something called food grade hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide 12%, 17%, or 35%).  If you don’t read any further, let us give you our very strong opinion.  Don’t buy it! Don’t try it! Don’t bring it in your house! End of discussion.  Please read on and you’ll see all the reasons why. Read more »


A Year in Review: Children’s OTC Cough & Cold Products Label Changes

Posted: January 11th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Hopefully you’re not home reading our blog with thermometer in mouth, feet soaking in hot water, lemon tea brewing on the stove, fighting off the nasty bug that you or your kids picked up at work or school – but it is indeed winter, the time of year when so many of us suffer the miserable effects of the common cold or flu.  Naturally, the use of a variety of non-prescription pain-relievers, fever-reducers, and cough/cold remedies goes up dramatically during the cold season, so it shouldn’t surprise you that the number of accidental poisonings and adverse drug reactions to these products does as well, especially among children.  In 2009, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reported a whopping total of 88,355 cases in the US involving cough and cold medications (CCMs); 46% involving children younger than 5 years old.   Read more »


“Ay, Ay…I Splashed_____in my Eye”

Posted: October 5th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How to manage and prevent harmful chemical exposures to the eye

By: Tony Burda and Robert Redwood ( 4th Year Medical Student  at RUMC)

When you think of the type calls received by a Poison Control Center, you probably think of poisonings such as  a child tasting rat poison or eating several handfuls of chewable vitamins or taking several bites of a house plant. Yet, in 2008 over 113,000 calls were placed to US Poison Centers regarding ocular (eye) exposures to chemicals alone! Read more »


The Truth About E-Cigarettes: A Potential Poisoning Hazard

Posted: September 14th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Tony Burda DABAT and Sheri VanOsdol Pharm.D.

Recently the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) received a call from a parent whose toddler ingested some contents of an e-cigarette cartridge containing nicotine.  We could find very little information addressing the accidental poisoning potential of these products in children, so we thought we’d share some information with you based on our findings. 

Electronic cigarettes or “e-cigarettes” are battery-powered tubes that heat liquid nicotine stored in a cartridge, into an inhalable vapor that looks and tastes like smoke from a regular cigarette.  These products are touted to be “safer” alternatives to cigarette smoking.  Often imported from other countries and distributed by multiple e-cigarette companies, they are marketed under various proprietary names.  These products are not currently regulated by the FDA, and their long-term safety has not been demonstrated.  Read more »


Could Grandma Be a Toxicologist ?

Posted: June 8th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

By Erin Pallasch, PharmD and IPC call center specialist

We all know that when something really frightening happens to a child, the first person we are most likely to turn to for advice is Grandma.  Whether it is our real grandmother or a friend/relative surrogate grandmother, she is always available with soothing words and the best advice that she has been doling out since we were babies ourselves. But while Grandma always has the best intentions, and is great to help calm us down, is Grandma really a poison specialist? Read more »


Top 5 Things You Didn’t Think Could be Poisonous to Children

Posted: January 5th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

Half of the calls received by the IPC involve kids under the age of 6.  Young children are naturally curious and explore their environments by touching and putting things into their mouths.  They learn by imitation, their taste buds are immature and they do not understand cause and effect.  Plus they are just small, so in many cases it doesn’t take much to overwhelm their little systems.  The IPC recommends keeping all potentially harmful substances away from children, because just about anything can be a poison in the right amount.  The following 5 things are in many households and it may surprise you that they can be so harmful. Read more »