Cleaning supplies pose threat in households as Ala. Poison Control Center reports spike in calls

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WKRG) — Wash your hands and sanitize your home. Things we’ve all heard many times during the pandemic. Now, a spike in the number of people poisoned by cleaning products, many of them children.

Cleaning supplies and disinfectants are all flying off the shelves. As millions continue to create a clean and sanitized environment to combat COVID-19.

“Since March 17 until last week, we saw a 38% increase in exposure,” said Ann Slattery, Director with the Alabama Poison Information Center at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham.

In Alabama, cleaning products were the top exposure threat to children, even before the pandemic.

“For 10-20 years cleaning products have been number one in children less than 6. Now, these children that are now in preschool or may have been in daycare are now at home and we are getting and we are getting more calls in that age group and it has increased by 5%. And that was noticed more in April,” Slattery said.

Slattery said the most common cleaning substance involved in an exposure, is household bleach.

“We have seen extremely large numbers for bleach in the last two months. And number 2 in disinfectants,” said Slattery.

Staying clean during the unknown is a huge task, but avoiding substance poisoning should be a priority.

“We definitely want to keep them out of emergency departments, where they may be exposed to something more dangerous,” Slattery said.

The center has also seen an increase in snakebites. Numbers have tripled during COVID-19 due to more people being at home.

For more information, visit the Alabama Poison Control Center: 1-800-222-1222

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