Let’s start with the scarrrrrryyyyyy stuff…poisoned candy.
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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 »
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 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.
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 that curious children cannot see the colorful, candy-like contents and be tempted to open the package.
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 really, really gross ones.
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 years by most practitioners. Read 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 age and under. Read more »
As 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 »
The year was 1953. Dwight Eisenhower was president, the average cost of a new house was $12,650 and gas was $.29 a gallon. This was also the year Illinois Poison Center (IPC) was established. If you’re not sure what the IPC does, check out “A Day in the Life of a Poison Center” blog for some funny, interesting, and sometimes sad calls received by the poison center experts. Read more »
In 2011, 49% of calls to the IPC involved kids age 5 and under. While that is a big chunk of our calls, that percentage has actually decreased over the past few years. Lots of poisoning exposures DO involve kids: children learn about their environment by picking things up and putting them in their mouth. They imitate adults, and of course they can’t read labels or fully understand the cause and effect of eating something potentially harmful. So why have poisoning exposures in this age group reported to the IPC drop dropped by 5-7% per year? Read more »
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 »