- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a dramatic increase in the number of poisonings being reported by individuals using cleaning chemicals at home.
- The coronavirus pandemic has prompted some concerned citizens to go overboard, leading to emergency situations.
- The CDC warns to never mix cleaning agents, use proper protective gear, and always ensure your cleaning area is properly ventilated.
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As the novel coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe, concerned citizens stockpiled all manner of disinfectant chemicals and cleaners. Waging their own personal wars on the virus by sanitizing their homes from top to bottom, the dramatic increase in the use of such cleaners appears to have had an unintended effect: poisonings.
The number of accidental poisonings related to cleaners and home chemicals has seen a dramatic spike in the first quarter of 2020. Year-over-year, the number of poisonings is up a whopping 20%, and researchers from the CDC believe the coronavirus pandemic is the driving force.
In the CDC’s report, the agency lists a couple of specific cases where both adults and children have fallen ill due to overexposure to cleaning chemicals. The individuals required prompt medical attention.
“An adult woman heard on the news to clean all recently purchased groceries before consuming them,” one report reads. “She filled a sink with a mixture of 10% bleach solution, vinegar, and hot water, and soaked her produce. While cleaning her other groceries, she noted a noxious smell described as “chlorine” in her kitchen. She developed difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing, and called 911.”
The woman ultimately recovered, but not before requiring supplemental oxygen and medication to open up her airways.
“A preschool-aged child was found unresponsive at home and transported to the ED via ambulance,” the second case report explains. “A 64-ounce bottle of ethanol-based hand sanitizer was found open on the kitchen table. According to her family, she became dizzy after ingesting an unknown amount, fell and hit her head.”
The child was transported to the hospital where her blood alcohol level was several times the limit at which an adult is considered inebriated. She was discharged after two days in the pediatric intensive care unit.
The CDC notes that the dramatic increase in the number of poisoning cases being reported is due to a number of factors associated with the pandemic. Improper use of cleaning agents, not wearing protective gear, lack of ventilation while cleaning, and mixing products together can all land you in a world of trouble.
The agency recommends some common-sense precautions, including reading all labels thoroughly, ensuring adequate ventilation while cleaning, and never combining cleaning agents or chemicals. If you begin to feel light-headed or notice other symptoms as you’re cleaning, find fresh air and, if necessary, contact a local poison control center or medical service.