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Why are you all up in my business?!

Posted: February 21st, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The IPC managed nearly 77,000 exposures in 2011, and nearly 75% of these came from calls from the general public.  In addition to providing expert recommendations and treatment advice, our IPC specialists collect information as well.   If you have ever called the IPC, you may have balked at our request for certain personal information – ‘Why do you need that information? What’s so important about my zipcode?’  We ask for this information because we create a medical record just like at your doctor’s office.  Most people expect that the receptionist will ask for basic information at your yearly check-up, and a ‘telephone visit’ with the IPC is very similar.  And like the medical record at your doctor’s office, your IPC medical record is completely, absolutely, 100% confidential. Read more »


Thanksgiving Day Turkey Disasters

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

If you are a regular reader of IPC’s blog, you know that we can get some pretty wild calls.  In honor of T-day 2011, here are some of the most bizarre food-related Thanksgiving calls our staff has gotten over the years.

Jessica S, PIP*

The most memorable Thanksgiving call that sticks out in my head was about 10-11 years ago from a woman who simply asked, “Is it safe to eat a turkey that is playing jingle bells?” As the family sat down to their Thanksgiving meal, everyone began looking around asking each other, ‘where is that music coming from?’   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 »


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 »


Babysitters & Nannies: Things to know before the parents go

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

If you are a babysitter/sitter/nanny, or ever entrust your precious progeny to one of them, then this article is for you.  About half of the IPC’s 80,000 exposures every year involve kids age 5 and under, and more than 90% of all exposures happen in the home.  I think we all would agree that keeping children safe is the most important part of babysitting.  Potentially harmful substances come in many forms (liquids, tablets, solids, sprays and gases), and can look or smell like things that are good to eat and drink. As you know, young children are curious, and they learn about their environment by touching and placing things in their mouths.

My motto has always been, “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”.  The time to ask questions is before the parents walk out, and when kids are involved, always prepare for the unexpected!  Below is a list of information to gather before you are left in charge (or leave others in charge of your child(ren): 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 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 »


Calling the IPC? Here’s What You Can Expect…

Posted: August 9th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Over 70,000 Illinois residents call the IPC from home, work or other location every year for help regarding a potentially harmful substance. However if you’ve never called our poison center, you may be wondering how we do things around here.  Below are answers to some common questions that we hope will increase your knowledge and familiarity about calling the poison center.

What can I call the poison center for? 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 »


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 »


National Take-Back Initiative 2011

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

For the second consecutive year, the DEA will coordinate a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets on April 30th , 2011. Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country.  The National Take-Back Day provides an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction.  These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and an unacceptable risk to public health and safety. 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 »


Keeping Illinois Safe: Hazard surveillance & Public health safety

Posted: January 25th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Illinois Poison Center (IPC) receives over 90,000 poison-related calls from the public and health care providers around the state every year.  Individually, each call is important to us and to the caller looking for information and advice.  Collectively however, the IPC calls become the database for hazardous exposures for the state of Illinois.  There is no other database like it in our designated area.  Read more »


The State of Poison Centers: Is it the End or the Beginning?

Posted: January 18th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Have you ever wondered about the vital role poison centers play in enhancing health care in America?  This week’s blog post is a contribution from the President of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, Richard Dart MD, PhD, FACEP, FACMT. In his most recent President’s Message, Dr. Dart focused on the value of poison centers. We invite our readers to get a firsthand look into the state of poison centers in this country. This article will surely put the importance of poison centers into perspective. Enjoy and as always we look forward to your comments.

The End or the Beginning?

At the end of 2010, the state of New York, citing budgetary issues, closed three of its five poison centers, leaving the Upstate New York Poison Center and the New York City Poison Control Center behind to offer poison center coverage for the entire state. Read more »


Don’t Tolerate Toxic Toasts by Toddlers this Holiday Season

Posted: December 28th, 2010 | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

At the stroke of midnight on Friday, December 31st, many of us will be ringing in 2011 with the familiar phrase “happy new year!” while sipping our favorite alcoholic beverages.  However, being oblivious to where you leave your unfinished drink can result in a very scary start to the New Year if your child gets alcohol poisoning. Read more »


The downside of inadequate poison center funding

Posted: March 9th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

What is it going to cost you?

Make no doubt about it; these are tough times for non-profit health services, especially those that have a limited ability to charge for their services.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about the financial benefits a poison center provides to its designated region.  As we work through social media, traditional media and other methods unlock support for the IPC, I am continually asked, “So what?  If your funding is not restored, what is it going to cost me?”

Over the past few weeks, I have learned that while I am personally excited and enjoy talking about the upside of what poison centers provide, government agencies, donors and the media want to know the downside if we are not provided appropriate funding.  They want to know, in essence, what is the price of failure. Read more »


A Day In the Life of a Poison Center

Posted: February 11th, 2010 | Tags: , , | 23 Comments »

We hope you enjoyed our day in the life of the Poison Center blog-a-thon yesterday.  Those 282 cases represent just a single day here at IPC; that translates to over 100,000 people that we help each year in Illinois.  Hopefully after reading these sample cases, you’ve learned that the IPC can help with just about any substance out there, and that there is no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed to call, because we really have heard it all!  To view the cases again, click on any/all the following hourly posts: Read more »


10pm-11pm (17 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , | No Comments »
  1. A 2 year old ingested an unknown amount of moisturizing body butter.
  2. A 69 year old male inadvertently swallowed a Spiriva capsule instead of using it in his powder inhaler. Read more »

1pm-2pm (15 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , | 6 Comments »
  1. A 9 month old child ingested up to a mouthful of Balmex® diaper cream.
  2. A 2 year old child ingested a swig of rubbing alcohol. Read more »

12pm-1pm (15 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , | 4 Comments »
  1. A 2 year old girl was playing in mom’s dresser and squirted perfume into her eyes.
  2. An adult female patient presented to the emergency room with severely blistered hands.  The patient recently purchased some ‘all natural’ household cleaner, and she assumed since all the ingredients were all-natural it would be safe to use to disinfect her hands.  The product’s ingredients, while perfectly natural, were caustic and caused chemical burns. Read more »

10am-11am (13 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »
  1. An ER called for assistance with an adult male who was pulled unconscious from a tank he had been cleaning at his worksite.
  2. A 3 year old child has eaten several granules in a silica gel packet. Read more »

9am-10am (10 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »
  1. A 3 year old child ingested an entire roll of Rolaids.®
  2. An 18 month old child was found sucking on the wick of a oil-based plug-in air freshener. Read more »