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The Illinois Poison Center is encouraging Illinoisans to take precautions against poison exposures while enjoying fun in the sun.

According to the IPC, the combination of long summer days home from school, outdoor celebrations and higher prevalence of insects all lead to increased accidental exposures.

“Each summer, the IPC sees a 10 to 20 percent higher call volume than compared to the rest of the year,” IPC Medical Director Michael Wahl, M.D., said in a news release. “The summer is a great time to be outdoors and celebrate with friends and family, but it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings and to be safe so everyone can enjoy the summer in good health.”

To prevent harmful exposures, the IPC offers the following tips:

Food safety: Properly prepare, cook and store food to keep bacteria at bay and prevent food poisoning.

  • Keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold
  • Avoid cross-contamination of raw and cooked foods
  • Refrigerate food within two hours of cooking

Cover Up: Wear clothing that will cover as much exposed skin as possible in order to protect from plant poisonings, like poison ivy, or from insect bites and stings.

Creams and sprays: Sunscreen and bug repellants are crucial summertime staples, but they may contain chemicals that can be harmful as well.

  • Read all labels and apply according to the directions
  • Wash hands immediately after application

Holiday celebrations: Parties present a number of opportunities for danger both for adults and children.

  • Be sure all tiki torch oils, lighter fluids, fireworks and other flammables are in their original containers, locked up and out of the reach of children. Accidentally drinking tiki torch oils or lighter fluids can be fatal.
  • Keep young children away from open alcohol containers
  • Do not let children put glow sticks or other substances in their mouths
  • Open and use all pool chemicals in a very well-ventilated area and wear eye and skin protection
  • Never sniff a chemical to see how potent it is, or mix chemicals unless specifically directed by product labels

IPC experts are available to provide information and treatment advice 24 hours per day, 365 days per year including holidays.

If you have a question, or if someone you know has been exposed to a potentially harmful substance, call 800-222-1222.


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