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Stay Cool with Smart Pool Care

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

When it’s hot out, there’s nothing better than jumping in a refreshing swimming pool! Before jumping in, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the chemicals used to keep pool water clean and safe.  Some of these products include:

1. Chlorine

2.  Bromine

Read more »


Got Questions about Radon? We Have Answers!

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

“Radon: a hazardous, colorless, odorless gas”

Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., and the leading cause among non-smokers.

Radon is a hazardous, colorless, odorless gas which may be lurking in your home or rental unit. A new law passed on January 1, 2012, that requires those seeking to rent property stay informed about radon levels in the properties they seek to rent.  This law requires owners of rental units to inform prospective tenants, in writing, whether the rental space has been tested for radon and if a hazard exists. In light of this new law, we thought it might be helpful to answer some frequently asked questions about radon. 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 »


Facts About Snake Bites in Illinois And Some Ways to Keep Safe

Posted: August 16th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Did you know we were in the middle of snake biting season? No we’re not suggesting that people are biting snakes this time of year, but snakes are indeed biting people. During the months of May-October, more snake bite incidents are recorded in the U.S. than any other time of the year. Considering we are in peak season, addressing this issue now seemed timely; just in case you and your family plan to go hiking or camping soon. 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 »


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 »


Top 5 Bug Spray Questions: Home Edition

Posted: May 24th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

This time of year, the Illinois Poison Center’s call volume starts to increase for a variety of reasons. One of  those reasons has to do with the use of pesticides in the home.  Here are the top 5 most frequently asked questions about insecticides:

1. Can I use outdoor-use pesticides inside the house if I have a really bad bug problem?

No!  There is a major difference in the safety level of the two products. Most 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 »


“Ay, Ay…I Splashed_____in my Eye”

Posted: October 5th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How to manage and prevent harmful chemical exposures to the eye

By: Tony Burda and Robert Redwood ( 4th Year Medical Student  at RUMC)

When you think of the type calls received by a Poison Control Center, you probably think of poisonings such as  a child tasting rat poison or eating several handfuls of chewable vitamins or taking several bites of a house plant. Yet, in 2008 over 113,000 calls were placed to US Poison Centers regarding ocular (eye) exposures to chemicals alone! Read more »


Making Room For The Grandchildren

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

A Grandparent’s Guide to Poison Prevention

By Tony “Grandman” Burda and Grazina Janeliauskaite

Two recent developments have spurred us to address the importance of diligent poison prevention by grandparents of small children. On September 9 2010, the PEW Research Center released a report entitled “Since the Start of the Great Recession, More Children Raised by Grandparents.”  This report revealed a surprising statistic that one out of ten children in the United States lives with a grandparent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, 41% of those children who live with a grandparent are also being raised primarily by that grandparent. Most notably, there was a sharp jump of 6% between the years 2007-2008 which corresponded to the first year of the Great Recession. Therefore, we feel the need to reach this burgeoning caregiver population with the message of being proactive about poison prevention and safety, is timely, relevant and compelling. Read more »


The Truth About E-Cigarettes: A Potential Poisoning Hazard

Posted: September 14th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Tony Burda DABAT and Sheri VanOsdol Pharm.D.

Recently the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) received a call from a parent whose toddler ingested some contents of an e-cigarette cartridge containing nicotine.  We could find very little information addressing the accidental poisoning potential of these products in children, so we thought we’d share some information with you based on our findings. 

Electronic cigarettes or “e-cigarettes” are battery-powered tubes that heat liquid nicotine stored in a cartridge, into an inhalable vapor that looks and tastes like smoke from a regular cigarette.  These products are touted to be “safer” alternatives to cigarette smoking.  Often imported from other countries and distributed by multiple e-cigarette companies, they are marketed under various proprietary names.  These products are not currently regulated by the FDA, and their long-term safety has not been demonstrated.  Read more »


Poisoning is a Matter of Dose

Posted: January 12th, 2010 | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments »

In 2006, I nearly killed my kidneys because I ignored the rule “poisoning in only a matter of dose”.  With regards to poisoning, the potentially harmful dose of a medication can be acute meaning too much all at once, or chronic referring too much over an extended period of time.  Paracelsus, a 16th century physician who is often referred to as the father of toxicology wrote, “All things are poison and nothing is without poison, only the dose permits something not to be poisonous”.  I could have avoided a 3 day hospital stay if I had taken what I learned in fellowship to heart. Read more »


Welcome to the Illinois Poison Center Blog

Posted: December 9th, 2009 | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

An Introduction to the Illinois Poison Center Blog:

Welcome to the first post of the Illinois Poison Center blog site!  I must be honest, in medical school I never thought I would be writing an internet blog, probably because Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet and blogs did not exist.  A lot has changed in the past 20 plus years.  With the tremendous growth in the internet and social media, the ability to communicate in the blogosphere has taken off with mommy blogs, daddy blogs, political blogs, community blogs, health-related blogs and others.  There are those who may ask “Does the world really need another blog, especially a poison center blog?”  I would have to answer with an unequivocal “yes”.

The Illinois Poison Center provides a variety of services and programs that encompass health care, public health education and research.  Through this blog, we will generate a dialogue, a conversation, with everyone interested in decreasing the harm of poisoning in their family, community or in the patients they treat.

We will have stories, articles, news you can use, interesting poisoning cases, and information and education on how to make your home and community safer. Read more »