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Got Cold or Cough with Congestion? … Get Cautious with Camphor

Posted: December 6th, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

It’s that time of the year again, and along with the cold weather, nasty colds, hacking coughs and stuffy noses have arrived. Time to break out the over-the-counter decongestants and other treatments that make you feel better.

Many families use mint-scented products like Vapo Rub, that are massaged on the skin or inhaled, to give a comforting, warm, soothing sensation.  Even though they don’t shorten the course of the illness, they may provide temporary relief from cough and cold symptoms.  Mike, our medical director, recalls being lathered up with the stuff like a greased pig when he was a kid. Read more »


Halloween: Hocus Pocus vs. Potential Horrors

Posted: October 25th, 2016 | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Let’s start with the scarrrrrryyyyyy stuff…poisoned candy.

Read more »


Day in the life of a Poison Center: 11pm-11:59pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. A 38 year old woman got out of the shower, did not have her glasses on and reached for her aerosol spray deodorant but instead used Scrubbing Bubbles.
  2. A 23 year old female was brought to the ER after confessing to her mother that she had ingested several handfuls of her medication. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 10pm-11pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. A 2 year old ingested an unknown amount of moisturizing body butter.
  2. A father called; when he went to check on his sleeping 11 month old son on his way to bed, he found that the baby had pulled off his diaper and eaten some of the absorbent diaper material inside. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 9pm-10pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. A woman called because she had reached into her bathroom cabinet in the dark for a tube of personal lubricant and accidentally used toothpaste instead.
  2. A 5 year old ingested up to 10 of his own Singulair. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 8pm-9pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. An ER called requesting treatment advice regarding a 26 year old intoxicated male who was bit by his pet rattlesnake on the neck. He was showing off the snake to his friends at a party and placed it around his neck.
  2. A father called after cooking tater tots in the oven; after his kids ate them, the caller realized there was a charred rat corpse in the oven. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 7pm-8pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. An ER called requesting treatment advice regarding a 74 year old female ingested unknown amount of diltiazem and metformin
  2. A 4 year old inadvertently brushed his teeth with Bengay muscle rub instead of toothpaste. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 6pm-7pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. Caller took a beer out of the minbar in a hotel and quickly realized after one swig that it was urine. Someone had drunk the beer, then filled it with urine and put it back to avoid being charged.
  2. A mother called after finding her 2 year old son chewing on an AA battery he found in the remote control. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 5pm-6pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. After playing basketball, an 18 year old male took two large swigs from a Gatorade bottle that he found in his friend’s Jeep. Turns out it was windshield wiper fluid the friend had transferred to the smaller bottle to make it more portable.
  2. While crawling in the kitchen, a 10 month old bit into a Laundry Pod. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 4pm-5pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. A mother called because her 18 year old son was dared to drink a bottle of hot sauce. He developed significant vomiting and diarrhea.
  2. A 37 year old male inadvertently took two of his daughter’s Depakote tablets, thinking they were Tylenol. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 3pm-4pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. A caller was trying to unclog a stubborn drain and poured drain cleaner and bleach into the sink at the same time. He immediately began having nose and eye burning and coughing. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 2pm-3pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. A 3 year old child ingested a mouthful of calamine lotion.
  2. A 2 year old got into grandmother’s pill box and may have ingested up to one each of lisinopril, prednisone and atorvastatin. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 1-2pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. An ER called regarding two adult patients who presented with bluish tinged skin (cyanosis). They had made their own beef jerky at home and had added 5 times too much sodium nitrate as a preservative.
  2. A preschool teacher would like to have someone from IPC to come out and give a poison prevention lecture to the children (IPC’s public education manager helped her out: info@ilpoison.org). Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 12pm-1pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. A mom called, she is visiting her friend (who uses e-cigarettes) and found her 2 year old sucking the liquid out of the E-cigarette device.
  2. An adult caller was using a Brillo pad to clean a stain on his underwear. As a result of vigorously scrubbing, some of the Brillo cleanser flew into his eye. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 11am-12pm

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »
  1. An elderly man called because a drain opener splashed into his eyes when he poured it into a clogged drain.
  2. A 5 year old accidentally super glued his finger in his nose. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 10am-11am

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No 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 toddler ingested a mouthful of acetone nail polish remover. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 9am-10am

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. A 3 year old child ingested an entire roll of Rolaids.
  2. A 23 year old woman is in the ER because she had been using an outdoor pesticide (chlorpyrifos) inside her house repeatedly over the past week. She is experiencing symptoms of dizziness and drowsiness. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 8am-9am

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. A 14 month old child took a bite out of his mother’s deodorant stick. Mom was able to remove most of the material from his mouth but he swallowed some.
  2. A 2 year old child ingested an unknown number of gummy vitamins. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 7am-8am

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
  1. An 11 month old child was playing with the tube of diaper cream while his father changed his diaper. He bit into the tube and ingested a mouthful of the cream.
  2. EMS called because they are transporting a patient found by his wife; she woke up this morning to find that he was on the couch covered in vomit with empty pill bottles surrounding him. Read more »

Day in the life of a Poison Center: 12am-7am

Posted: March 19th, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Want to know what it is like to work at a poison center? Ever wonder just what type of calls we receive? All of these calls are typical of the type of calls the IPC gets on any given day.  They are presented in a simulated call timeframe and details have been changed to protect the privacy of our callers.  Regardless of how people come into contact with potentially harmful substances, our staff answers each call with concern, professionalism and respect.  You never know when you will need us—put 1-800-222-1222 into your phone now!  All calls to the IPC are free and confidential, and are answered by health care professionals specially trained in toxicology. 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 »


The Illinois Poison Center – Literally a “SPI’s Nest” of Activity

Posted: January 24th, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

No, the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) is not a clandestine arm of the CIA, FBI, or KGB. However, it is staffed by a team of well qualified “SPIs” around the clock.  So, what exactly is a SPI you ask? Read more »


Seniors Are at Risk for Poisoning, Too!

Posted: January 3rd, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The following post was contributed by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

If you are a senior adult, you may think that poison centers and poison prevention are mainly for kids. But seniors are at risk for poisoning, too!

As we age, we often take more and more medicine, whether prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin or herbal. And that means more chances to make mistakes. 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 »


Outdoor Summer Safety

Posted: June 28th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Temperatures are warm, the sun is shining and kids are out of school.  Summertime is “outside time”, so read on for tips to keep your family safe while outdoors!

Plants and Mushrooms

Learn the names of all the plants in your garden and landscaping, and label them with both their common and botanical names (tip: bring a cut of the plant/flower to your local nursery or greenhouse if you don’t know what you have).  Consult the IPC’s toxic plant list to help plan your garden, especially if you have little ones. Teach children to never eat mushrooms or berries growing outside. Read more »