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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 New Stomach Bug: Cyclospora Spreads Across the U.S.

Posted: August 6th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

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 this outbreak started in June, there have been 21 people hospitalized?

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Isla Fisher: What not to do (when it comes to poisoning)

Posted: July 30th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

isla_imageEveryone 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 the same cringe-worthy moments when watching movies where someone has taken a lethal ingestion but survives due to a ridiculously simple or outrageously dramatic approach to the treatment of a poisoning or overdose.  We genuinely fear that the general public will believe in what they are viewing.

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Laundry Pod Poisoning in Children

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

22743394_BG1For 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 that curious children cannot see the colorful, candy-like contents and be tempted to open the package.

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Ewwwww Groooossssss

Posted: July 9th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

grossed-out-kidHere 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 really, really gross ones.

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The 4th Brings Forth Some Challenges

Posted: July 2nd, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

fireworksTemperatures 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 these tips on staying safe this holiday! Read more »


Are you going to pump my child’s stomach?

Posted: June 25th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

stomach_pump_28272_lgI 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 years by most practitioners. Read more »


Watch out for those creatures that slither in Illinois

Posted: June 18th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

greatplainsratsnakeIt’s that time of the year again. No, I’m not talking about beach season; I’m talking about snake season. Did you know the American Association of Poison Control Centers received 6,158 snake bite calls in the U.S. in 2009 ? Read more »


Oooops…. better call the poison center!

Posted: June 11th, 2013 | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Pet-Medications-Without-Perscription-770148The 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! Read more »


Mosquitoes, ticks and biting insects, OH MY!

Posted: June 4th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

mosquito_repel_DEETNow 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 people outdoors, but also brings out the dreaded biting, stinging insects! Read more »


Why not call it like it is?

Posted: May 28th, 2013 | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

water2Are you concerned about the toxicity and cancer causing potential of dihydrogen monoxide, also known as DHMO? What? Toxic?! Cancer causing potential?! GASP! If you have not heard of this substance, arm yourself with information at www.dhmo.org!

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A Healthy Interaction: Get to Know your Pharmacist

Posted: May 21st, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Pharmancy RXI 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. Read more »


The Top 5 Most Toxic Substances in Your House

Posted: May 14th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Toxic-HomePoisoning 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?  Many of these poisons are things we all use or come in contact with regularly.  Here are the top 5 most toxic substances that are in your house right now: Read more »


Spring is in the air…

Posted: May 7th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

allergiesAlong 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 change tactics. In the case of allergy triggers, they change with the seasons. Springtime allergens predominantly include tree pollens, followed by grass and weed pollens in the summer, and molds in the fall.

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20,000 ER Visits and Climbing

Posted: April 30th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »


energydrinks__blurred_small (2)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 drinks that contain added amounts of caffeine and other additives such as guarana (a source of additional caffeine), taurine and ginseng.  They are marketed as providing benefits such as increased stamina, and enhanced physical and mental alertness and performance.

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Got Drugs?

Posted: April 23rd, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

takebackpictureOn 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 manned by local police officers and sheriff’s deputies located throughout the United States.

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To The Maximus

Posted: April 9th, 2013 | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Max-DobnerAt 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 son, Max Dobner, during his first time use of synthetic marijuana (Spice).  TTM educates and informs about synthetic drugs and advocates for effective legislation.

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National Volunteer Week

Posted: April 2nd, 2013 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

volunteerweek

As a former Peace Corps Volunteer (2002-2004, Republic of Kiribati/K-29) and a mom, I’m a strong believer and supporter of “it takes a village” especially when it comes to creating safer home, play and work environments. Read more »


Senator Andy Manar: Why I Support the Illinois Poison Center

Posted: March 26th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

AndyManarAs 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 age and under. Read more »


Your First Responder

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

emrgsignKatie, a curious two year old is found underneath the sink by her mom who thinks she may have been drinking bleach.  In a panic, her mother grabs the phone . . .

A comatose 53 year female is found on the floor surrounded by 6 empty pill bottles.  She is brought to a local emergency department for treatment.  The physician examines the patient and then reaches for the phone . . . 

A police officer pulls over a car that has been weaving on the roadway.  In the car, there is a baggie of unmarked pills and the officer wonders if they are the cause of the erratic driving.  He pulls out his cell phone . . .

A paramedic in a rural area picks up someone who just drank windshield wiper fluid.  He wonders what sort of symptoms might develop in the 30 minute transport to the hospital.  He picks up the phone and calls . . .

Illinois State Law Enforcement would like regular reports on the epidemic of synthetic drugs in Illinois.  They reach for the phone and dial . . .

These are just a few of the reasons people and organizations call the Illinois Poison Center.   The IPC is a first responder that provides critical, needed information at the point of care, whether it is a frantic care-giver or an experienced emergency department physician looking for help with a complex, critically ill poisoned patient.

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State Rep. Camille Y. Lilly: Why I Support the Illinois Poison Center

Posted: March 12th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

camille_lillyAs the Representative for Illinois’ 78th House District, I am proud to sponsor House Bill 1403 which protects the state’s investment in the Illinois Poison Center (IPC). The IPC provides critical services for Illinois’s citizens, providing poison prevention education and expert medical advice to both health care providers and the public, as well as acting as a first responder during public health emergencies.  I have also seen, first-hand, the impact the IPC has on our state’s health care safety net through my work at Loretto Hospital on Chicago’s west side. Read more »


Chicago Department of Public Health Guest Blog: Lead Poisoning

Posted: March 5th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

 

Health_logoYoung children are most vulnerable to the health effects of lead, a toxic metal that has been used in a variety of household and commercial products. Despite continued declines in the numbers of children affected, lead poisoning remains one of the most common preventable pediatric injuries.
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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!

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Toxic Love

Posted: February 12th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Valentines-Day-cards-to-my-love-8Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and so it is that time of year that we are extra nice to our sweeties, and we go out of our way to show just how much we love them.  Not all couples remain smitten with each other though, and unfortunately Love and Poison can go together just like flowers and candy or strawberries and champagne.

Recent history (and crime statistics) is full of not-so romantic stories about one half of a couple underhandedly getting rid of their other half by poisoning them.  If you are a fan of romantic comedies, these stories may depress you, but if Investigation Discovery is more your viewing pleasure, you will love these tales of toxic love: Read more »


Bath Salts in the Navy

Posted: January 29th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

DCS09-371-1 Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News fileLives are on the line, both directly and indirectly, when it comes to drug abuse in the military. Sadly, the harmful effects of bath salts are not entirely acute, but may result in chronic depression, delusions, and paranoia. As history tends to repeat itself we must be vigilant to address this current concern in addition to taking preemptive steps to combat the looming issues on the horizon. Read more »