Like our blog?! Click here to receive our monthly posts straight to your inbox!

The changing nature of healthcare access and poison control services

Posted: November 12th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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 »


The IPC: It’s Ours to Lose

Posted: February 19th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

IPC_magnet. black borderLast week State Representative Camille Lilly and State Senator Andy Manar introduced legislation maintains the state’s current investment in the Illinois Poison Center (IPC). Our goal is to secure 15 additional co-sponsors by the end of next week and we need your help! By adding additional co-sponsors we can demonstrate to the Illinois General Assembly (ILGA) just how important the state’s only remaining poison control center is to you and the State of Illinois.  Click here to let your voice be heard!

Read more »


“Your Call Is Important To Us…”

Posted: April 17th, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

We are currently busy with other callers and will be with you shortly . . .

I really hate our new phone hold message . . . and so do those who use our services . . .  but we had to make the change to reflect our new reality.

For the past three years, the IPC has been the classic story of a struggling non-profit public health service faced with an increasing need for services while coming to grips with rapidly declining support from funding agencies.  In response to the loss of funding, the Illinois Poison Center has had to make difficult staffing changes to bring expenses in line with the new lower revenues.  The need for poison center services however, has increased tremendously in this same period of time, leading to a difficulty in meeting the needs of the Illinoisans we serve. Read more »


We’re Grateful You’re Part of Our Team!

Posted: November 15th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

As we approach the end of this year, we would like to thank all of you for your continued support of the IPC. The IPC is proud to play a vital role in Illinois’ health care network. Without you and others like you who carry our message and have offered personal financial support to help us continue our efforts, we would not be as successful doing our job.

For over 50 years, we have been just a phone call away; providing immediate help in handling poison emergencies throughout Illinois. Read more »


Much To Be Thankful For…

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

The Illinois Poison Center has much to be thankful for.

The IPC is very grateful for the support that readers of our blog, Facebook page members, educators, volunteers, Twitter followers, students, callers and other partners have provided over the past several months.  This spring, close to 5,000 e-mails were sent to legislators in support of restoration of poison center funding!  These letters played an important part in preventing the closure of the IPC.

At the beginning of this year, federal support for the nation’s network of 57 poison centers was in jeopardy of being completely eliminated in the continuing resolution budget for 2011 – a crippling cut that eventually would have eliminated many of the nation’s poison centers, the IPC included.  In the final budget resolution for the 2011 budget, 75% of funding was restored; not ideal, but enough to survive another year. Read more »


Top 6 Reasons Why One National Poison Center is NOT the Answer

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

Last month, we explained how cutting funding for poison centers is a classic case of ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ and the loss of poison centers would lead to a drastic increase in unnecessary health care costs.   One of our astute readers left us a comment asking a very good question:

Thanks for this explanation.  I am a big believer in what you guys are doing.  There is no doubt that Poison Centers across the country save a lot of money (as well as lives!)

Nonetheless, I do think more explanation is needed to address why a national (or regional) poison centers wouldn’t work. I know local relationships are important, but in my opinion, this needs to be explained further.

We are so glad you asked (we also really like the compliment on saving money and lives too!).  We understand the federal government needs to save money, and that a suggested solution is to consolidate the current 57 national poison centers into one, single national poison center to handle all the calls in the country.  While that might seem like the best idea, it is however, not a well thought-out concept.  There are many reasons why, but the biggest one is… Read more »


Answering the call in a public health emergency

Posted: March 29th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Mr. Yuk and the limitation of the symbol.  Poison centers embrace their traditional service in helping mothers and other care givers care their little loved ones when they may have ingested a potentially harmful substance; 50% of the calls that the Illinois Poison Center receives involve children 5 and under.  Poison centers however do so much more. Read more »


“These Darn Safety Caps Are A Pain In The…”

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

I can bet most of us have probably cursed and moaned while struggling to open a container with a “child-resistant” cap.  Have you ever wondered how these enclosures came to be and if they’re really beneficial in preventing child poisonings? Since March is Illinois Poison Prevention Month, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to educate you on the history and benefit of child resistant closures.   Read more »


The Latest Buzz about Kids, Teens and Caffeinated Energy Drinks

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

If that second cup of coffee you just had doesn’t keep you awake tonight, here’s something that might.  A recent issue of Pediatrics reviewed the effects of caffeine and energy drinks on children, adolescents, and young adults and found several concerning conclusions.

Did you know that over 500 new energy drink products were marketed worldwide in the last year? Also, did you know that these products are NOT regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? Because of this lack of regulation, there is no maximum dose of caffeine in energy drinks. These products can contain high amounts of caffeine, a nervous system stimulant that is commonly found in your morning coffee, tea, and soft drinks.  While caffeinated products may claim to increase exercise endurance and improve mood and memory, they are not without adverse effects, especially at higher doses.   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 »


You’re a mean one…Mr. Yuk!

Posted: February 15th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

  Mr. Yuk is green, Mr. Yuk is mean!  The logo and the saying are a part of poison prevention lore.  Created in Pittsburgh in 1971 (yes, 2011 is the 40th anniversary of the iconic logo), it was to replace the more traditional poison symbol of the skull and crossbones . . . a symbol that did not deter the little Pittsburgh Pirate fans in the Steel City.

Mr. Yuk quickly developed a wide reach and has recognition value with adults who were children in the 70’s and beyond.  However in the age groups most at risk for unintentional poisoning, 18 to 35 months of age, Mr. Yuk had no deterrent effect in this most vulnerable age group.  More than one study cast doubt on the efficacy of Mr. Yuk as a deterrent in the 1980’s.  Still, it is a symbol representative of poison prevention and poison centers for many. Read more »


Don’t Eat the Toothpaste!

Posted: February 1st, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Have you ever noticed the bold statement on the label of your toothpaste tube: “WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age.  If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately?”  Pretty scary, huh?  Especially when this stuff is supposed to do such wonderful things like prevent cavities and gum disease, freshen breath, and give you that dazzling bright smile.   Read more »