Illinois Poison Center Sounds Alarm Due to Increased Calls During Summer | WIBQ The talk station

CHICAGO (WMBD) – The Illinois Poison Center is warning residents of the increased presence of foodborne illnesses as the warmer months arrive.

Why now and not in winter? At outdoor parties, hot food does not stay warm and cold food does not stay cold, increasing the risk of food poisoning.

That, plus the increasing number of bugs, means IPC will see a 10% to 20% increase in calls over the summer.

“Summer is an exciting time to enjoy barbecues, festivals and holidays, but the festivities can be ruined because proper precautions are not taken to prevent poisoning,” said IPC Medical Director Michael Wahl, MD.

This summer, IPC released tips to prevent poisoning:

  • Food Safety: Prepare, cook and store food properly to keep bacteria at bay and prevent food poisoning.
    • Keep hot dishes warm and cold dishes cold.
    • Avoid cross-contamination of raw and cooked foods.
    • Cook food as close to serving as possible to prevent bacterial growth.
    • Store food in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. If you’re not sure how long something has been outside, play it safe and throw it away.
    • Store coolers in the shade and out of the hot car or trunk.
  • Public holidays: Parties are fun, but they present some opportunities for danger for both adults and children.
    • Make sure all tiki torch oil, lighter fluids, fireworks and other flammables are in their original containers, sealed and out of the reach of children. Accidentally drinking tiki torch oil or lighter fluids can be fatal.
    • Keep alcohol out of the reach of children.
    • Do not allow children to put glow sticks, fireworks or other substances in their mouths.
    • Open and use all pool chemicals in a very well-ventilated area and wear eye and skin protection.
  • Cover: Wear clothing that covers as much exposed skin as possible to protect against plant poisons, such as poison ivy, or against insect bites and stings.
  • Creams and sprays: Sunscreen and insect repellent are crucial summer products, but they may contain chemicals that can be harmful.
    • Read all labels and apply according to directions.
    • Wash hands immediately after application.

According to, 48 million cases of food poisoning occur annually, or one in six Americans.

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