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Illinois Poison Center Facing Shutdown, New Challenges

Updated:
CHAMPAIGN-- "Nicotine is just one small example of the many poisons,
potential poisons, that we all come into contact with in our daily
lives," Carol Des Lauriers, Operations Director at the Illinois Poison
Center, says.

The Center expects the number of calls for nicotine
poisoning to triple this year, and they say more than half those calls
will be for children under 5. Nikki Hillier, Program Coordinator at C-U
Public Health, says, "We know that it's probably because of the
increased use of E-cigarettes, and the refillable cartridges that people
that use them are using."

Every phone call at the IPC is
answered by a nurse, pharmacist, or physician, and the poison center
says they're able to save people $52 million every year in healthcare
costs by keeping people out of the hospital. Des Lauriers says, "We're
able to keep 90% of those people at home, with simple telephone
instructions from our healthcare professional experts."

But, she
adds, having to shut down the center would have dire consequences on the
health and finances of the people of Illinois. "If the poison center
were to close, all those people we could have helped over the phone
--they could stay at home, they don't have to go through the stress and
cost of an emergency room visit or an ambulance ride-- if the poison
center were to close, all those people would be going to the emergency
room unnecessarily."

Which in turn could have huge consequences
here at home. Hillier says, "At Public Health we do a lot around keeping
our kids safe, we have a safe kids coalition, and so some of these
things would probably fall under that in terms of prevention, but not
necessarily for reporting. So that is going to be a big gap in our
state. That would be a huge gap if we didn't have Poison Control."Illinois Poison Center Facing Shutdown, New Challenges


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