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

Why now and not winter? With outdoor celebrations, hot food fails to stay hot and cold food fails to stay cold, increasing the risk of food poisoning.

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That, plus bugs proliferating, causes IPC to see a 10%–20% increase in calls during the summer.

“Summer is an exciting time to enjoy BBQs, festivals and holiday celebrations, but the festivities can be ruined because the proper precautions aren’t taken to prevent poisoning,” said IPC Medical Director Dr. Michael Wahl.

IPC released tips to avoiding poisoning this summer:

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-contaminating raw and cooked foods.

Cook food as close to serving time as possible to avoid bacterial growth.

Refrigerate food within two hours of cooking; if you are unsure how long an item has been out, play it safe and throw it away.

Keep coolers in the shade and out of a hot car or trunk.

Holiday Celebrations: Parties are fun but present a number of opportunities for danger for both 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 alcohol up and out of the reach of children.

Do not let children 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 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.

Read all labels and apply according to the directions.

Wash hands immediately after application. 

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