CDC: Poison centers see increase in cleaners, disinfectant exposures during coronavirus pandemic

Poison centers are receiving more calls about about exposure to disinfectants and cleaners during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From January to March, poisons centers took 45,550 exposure calls related to cleaners and disinfectants, a 20.4% increase from that same period last year and a 16.4% increase from 2018.

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Among cleaners, bleaches accounted for the highest increase and was up 62.1% from 2019.

Nonalcohol disinfectants and hand sanitizers saw the biggest percentage increase, 36.7% each, among disinfectants.

Inhalation saw the biggest jump in exposure routes in cleaner and disinfectants with increases of 35.3% and 108.8% respectively.

The calls increased among all age groups, but saw the largest spike in exposure in children ages 5 and younger.

In one case, a pre-school-aged child was found unresponsive with a 64 ounce bottle of ethanol-based hand sanitizer open on the kitchen table. The child reportedly got dizzy after ingesting the hand sanitizer and fell and hit her head. She was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit and discharged after 48 hours.

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The CDC reminded that people should wear protective gear when handling certain cleaners and disinfectants, and read product labels about the proper use. People also need to remember not to mix cleaners and chemicals.

Always fall the instructions on the product’s label, wear eye and skin protection while handling, and make sure all cleaners and disinfectants are stored where children cannot reach them.

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