CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – As we come to terms with the new normal of COVID-19, cleaning and sanitizing has become a part of that new routine. However, this new habit may possibly become a dangerous one.
According to the West Virginia Poison Center, when compared to the same time period as last year, the number of poisoning cases in West Virginia from bleach products and disinfectants has doubled. Nationally, poison center calls are up by 20%.
Carissa McBurney, the Community Outreach Coordinator for the WVPC, says while those numbers are scary, they aren’t unexpected.
“When people are in the house more and their normal routines are interrupted, you often see an increase in poisonings,” she says.
Especially when a household includes children. Parents should always keep cleaning supplies stored safely away from their child’s reach. Typically, children under 6 make up the majority of poisonings from these products.
“I am a mom and my husband works in the medical field — so I know the importance of keeping things wiped down,” McBurney says. “But it’s as equally important to be sure that I am putting my stuff back safely to make sure that the products are ingested by my kids.”
Parents should also be on the lookout for products that look similar to other household items like juice or water. McBurney says now would be the perfect time for parents to talk to their young children.
But they aren’t just seeing cases involving children. According to WVPC, a decent chunk of the new cases are with teens and adults.
Another major issues come from the lack of availability of many cleaning products, leaving some people to get creative in an attempt to make their own products. Chemicals should never be mixed, and officials say you are better off to rely on soap and water to keep yourself clean.
The WV Poison Center is dedicated to remaining available for poison questions and emergencies, with trained specialists answering calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The number is 1-800-222-1222.
Not all poisonings require hospitalization. There are many accidental poisonings and medication errors that can be managed at home. Home care is immediate care and avoids a trip to the hospital if this is not required, that is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.