You wake up one morning with nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. You realize it must be caused by the past-its-prime chicken you ate last night. More than likely, you have food poisoning. This extremely common illness is caused by eating contaminated food. It is estimated that one in six Americans will suffer from a case … more
The weather in Illinois is getting cooler (much to my personal delight), and while some of the familiar summer blooms are fading away, mother nature has a whole new act for autumn. Some of the more classic toxic plants are in their prime this time of year. Very Toxic: If someone has swallowed any … more
On a hot August day in the 1930s, ten strangers were lured to an island mansion by the mysterious U. N. Owen. Over dinner, a recording played, and the voice of an unseen host accused each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston was found murdered by a deadly … more
It all started back in the 1940s: After World War II, there was a substantial increase in the number of household products available to consumers, including many items that hadn’t been seen in homes before, such as cleaning products, pesticides, drugs and other chemicals. Many were poorly packaged and contained really toxic ingredients. People had … more
Recently, I saw a headline that made my mouth drop: It’s been 10 years since the debut of what many consider to be the greatest television drama of all time, Breaking Bad! Since becoming a specialist here at the Illinois Poison Center, I’ve developed a newfound appreciation for the series because of the central role … more
It takes a lot of work to maintain the health and safety of our homes, especially when we have small children to care for. But despite everything we do to keep our homes in good shape, it’s not always the cleaners and chemicals we have to watch out for: houses can pose their own types … more
While the flu always has the potential to be deadly, you may not know about a hidden danger lurking in your medicine cabinet, especially during cold and flu season: acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acetaminophen is a common drug for treating flu symptoms, like fever and chills, muscle and body aches, headaches, and sore throats. Acetaminophen, however, can’t … more
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 … more
Halloween is a real treat for humans, but not so much for our pets. Did you know that chocolate is toxic to all mammals, but only dogs will eat a potentially fatal amount? The darker the chocolate, the worse it is for a dog, since milk chocolate and white chocolate are diluted with other ingredients.
OMG! Uh oh. Geez! Duh. Shoot! Yep, we’ve heard these exclamations time and time again. We all strive to do what’s best for our families by keeping our children safe and our homes clean. However, once in a while, some of the methods we use to achieve these goals totally backfire and can have minor—or … more
EMS, Emergency Medical Service, is much more than a ride to the hospital. It is a system of coordinated response and emergency medical care, involving multiple people and agencies. It is activated by a call for help, usually by a call to 911, after an incident of serious illness or injury. The Illinois Poison Center … more
Today’s case study involves poisoning exposures that occurred because a potentially harmful substance was stored in the wrong container. One of the IPC’s core poison prevention messages is always store chemicals, cleaning products, and medications in their original containers. There are good reasons for this: The usage directions are always with the product The substance … more
It is that time of year where friends and family come together to share a very special holiday: Thanksgiving. As you are celebrating this wonderful time of the year, take a little time out to reflect on the value of the services that IPC provides you year around.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months, you have heard about the new Illinois Medical Marijuana bill. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (what a mouthful) was approved on August 1, 2013 making Illinois the 20th state to allow medical marijuana use.
Have you heard about the new stomach bug sweeping the U.S.? Recently, the media has reported an outbreak of a new stomach bug spreading through the Midwest. To date, there have been hundreds of cases of people affected by this critter, with the highest counts occurring in Iowa followed by Texas. Did you know that since … 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 … more
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 … more
As a child, my mother and I would visit her family near the Panama Canal Zone for summer vacation, and invariably there would be stories of “Sal si puedes” – literally “leave if you can.” Sal si puedes was the derelict and dangerous opium smoking section of Panama City in the late 1800’s and first … more
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 … more
Temperatures and grills are hot, bugs are swarming and the sky is a glow with fireworks…it’s the Fourth of July! While the Fourth is usually a time for joyous celebrations, like every holiday, it brings forth its own set of poisoning hazards to adults, children and pets. Before you and yours celebrate America’s birthday, review … more
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 … more
Now that the weather is finally warming up, we can actually see Summer approaching just around the corner. Summertime means kids out of school, days at the park and gossiping out on the porch in the late evenings. For everything good thing there is always a downside. Not only does the warm weather bring more … more