How to avoid poisonings from cleaners amid coronavirus pandemic

Research shows that the new coronavirus can live on surfaces for hours, so cleaning is an effective way to prevent people from becoming sick.

Reports of accidental poisonings from cleaners and disinfectants, however, are on the rise. Such poisonings were up about 20 percent in the first three months of this year, compared with the same period in 2018 and 2019, according to a report Monday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the CDC can't prove coronavirus drove the increase, it seems likely the two are linked, given the number of stay-at-home orders and guidance to clean hands and dirty surfaces.

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Experts said mixing household cleaners can cause big problems. Mixing bleach with ammonia or bleach with vinegar can create harmful fumes. This is especially dangerous in unventilated spaces, and exposure can lead to blurry vision, skin and lung irritation.

Also, accessibility to hand sanitizer can cause problems for families with young children.

While a dime-sized amount on a child's hands aren't an issue, if a child swallows multiple pumps, it could result in a trip to the emergency room. Roughly 40% of calls this year were about poisonings in children age 5 or younger.

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When things get scary, the trick is to control what you can control -- like getting rid of germs in your home.



The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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