COVID-19 pandemic causes rise in poison control calls


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Researchers say the pandemic has caused an uptick in poison control calls as more disinfectants are used around the house.

The Centers for Disease Control reports calls to poison centers about exposure to cleaners and disinfectants increased about 20 percent around the country when the pandemic hit.

“General disinfectants in the home, Lysol sprays, bleach type cleaners, things like that,” said Howell Foster, the director of the Arkansas Poison and Drug Information Center.

Foster said Arkansas is one of the states that have seen an increase in calls, and most of the reports include children.

A CDC study reveals it’s mainly kids under the age of five.

“Just the typical child-type exposure, picking up the bottle, spraying themselves in the face with it.. Just in general what little toddlers do,” said Foster.

Major DeHanes is three years old and has no reservations about using cleaning supplies.

“He helps me clean,” said his mom Danielle DeHanes. “He’ll take the Windex from me and the towel and he’ll spray the door and just start cleaning”

She said cleaning together helps prevent him from becoming another report to poison control.

“You have to keep your kids involved because if you don’t involve them and completely remove them from cleaning agents or whatever then its always going to be well why can’t I touch it? What is it like? What’s going on? It’s the curiosity,” DeHanes said.

Foster said that curiosity could be deadly.

“Some of the hand sanitizers, at least early on, we were getting some methanol contaminated hand sanitizers,” he said. “Methanol can make you go blind if you drink it, methanol can honestly kill you if you drink enough of it.”

According to Foster and the CDC, the best thing you can do is keep cleaning supplies out of reach out of sight so your kids won’t get into it while you aren’t looking.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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