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“All I Did Was Go To The Bathroom And…”

Posted: October 19th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

By Tony

No, this is not our attempt to make shameless PG-rated “bathroom humor.”  I haven’t conducted any studies nor am I equipped with any concrete statistics; all I have is my 30 years of observations as a certified toxicologist and those of other Illinois Poison Center call center staff. Yet I ask you to consider the following:  the act of going to the bathroom provides enough time and opportunity for any adventurous and clever toddler to get into mischief, which may unfortunately lead to an unwarranted injury or exposure. Read more »


Spring Fever and Poisonous Passion (aka Sexually Transmitted Poisons)

Posted: March 23rd, 2010 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

By Carol and our special guest blogger Dr Frank Paloucek

Sex and death share a history together in the arts and in medicine probably as far back as both coexist.  Normally, when you put the words ‘harmful’ and ‘sex’ in the same sentence, it would be one about sexually transmitted diseases (er, or maybe S & M).  But, did you know that poisons can also be transmitted via intimate contact and exposure to bodily fluids?  Reminds me of one of my favorite ‘statshots’ from the Onion®, on how ‘best to poison your adversary’:  “poison self, then have unprotected sex with adversary”.  Frank, who was my mentor in pharmacy school (and the man largely responsible for me being such a tox geek) happens to be an expert on sexually transmitted poisons (hey, everyone’s got to have a hobby) and he has graciously provided us with some of the strangest, most fascinating, but 100% true stories on how someone can be poisoned. Read more »


Making a Difference One Family at a Time

Posted: March 16th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

March 14th-20th has been proclaimed National Poison Prevention Week. This is the time of year that all educators for the IPC put forth that extra effort to educate and inform the public of the dangers of unintentional poisonings. I am still amazed each time I attend a public event the number of people who stop to tell me about their brief encounter in using the Poison Center 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 »


11pm-11:59pm (14 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »
  1. A 38 year old woman got out of the shower and did not have her glasses on.  She 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 over the counter sleeping pills and alcohol. 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 »

9pm-10pm (19 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , | 3 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 tablets. Read more »

8pm-9pm (20 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | 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 had placed it around his neck. Read more »

7pm-8pm (19 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , | No Comments »
  1. A child ingested several mouthfuls of bathwater that had Mr Bubbles® in it.
  2. A 4 year old inadvertently brushed his teeth with Bengay® muscle rub instead of toothpaste. Read more »

6pm-7pm (18 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »
  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 1 year old ingested a mouthful of Desitin® diaper cream. Read more »

5pm-6pm (16 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »
  1. A 4 year old child ingested some granules from a silica gel packet.
  2. 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. Read more »

4pm-5pm (15 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , | 2 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 1 year old licked his father’s deodorant stick.
  3. A 37 year old male inadvertently took two of his daughter’s Depakote tablets, thinking they were Tylenol. Read more »

3pm-4pm (14 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | 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.  (bleach and an acid drain cleaner mixed together create chlorine gas which is a very strong respiratory irritant). Read more »

2pm-3pm (15 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »
  1. A 2 year old ingested a mouthful of hand sanitizer.
  2. A 3 year old child ingested a swallow of calamine lotion.
  3. 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 »

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 »

11am-12pm (15 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »
  1. A 1 year old child scraped some soap off a bar of soap with her teeth.
  2. An elderly man called because a drain opener splashed into his eyes when he poured it into a clogged drain.
  3. A 3 year old child was playing with nail polish, and put it on her lips like lipstick. 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 »

8am-9am (6 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »
  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 amount of gummy vitamins. Read more »

7am-8am (6 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »
  1. An 11 month old child was playing with the tube of Desitin® diaper cream while his father changed his diaper.  He bit into the tube and ingested a mouthful of the cream.
  2. A mom called because she accidentally gave her 2 month old her other child’s heart medication. Read more »

Midnight-7am (35 calls)

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments »

Midnight to 7am

  1. A 3 year old woke up in the middle of the night and went to play in a closet while his parents were asleep.  He tipped mango scented laundry soap up to mouth , ingested some and spilled it on his face.
  2. A 20 year old woman was depressed and took a handful of ibuprofen.
  3. An emergency room called requesting advice Read more »

Know the Difference Between Carbon Monoxide and Natural Gas?

Posted: December 15th, 2009 | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Winter is here, which means furnaces are on, fireplaces are crackling and ovens are baking up tasty treats.   Do YOU know the difference between these two potentially toxic gases?  If you didn’t even know there was a difference, you’re not alone.  Here’s the scoop.

First of all, breathing and oxygen (O2) 101: You take a breath of room air (which is about 21% O2 here on Earth), and the air goes into your lungs.  Your red blood cells pick up the O2 from your lungs, and they carry it on to your organs, which need O2 to work properly.  The organs that use the most O2 are your brain and heart….  Yep, those are pretty important ones. Read more »