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Texas Poison Center Network reports dramatic uptick in calls about household cleaners, bleach

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The Texas Poison Center Network received about 1,900 calls related to cleaning products or disinfectants from March 1 through Friday, the Dallas Morning News reported. That includes a 68% increase in calls about bleach products and a 69% increase in calls about hand sanitizers.

Poison control centers nationally received over 45,500 calls in the first three months of this year, a 20% increase in calls as compared to 2019, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The uptick comes as public health officials and CDC guidelines advise people to clean frequently touched surfaces often to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, which can live up to five days on metal.

Ingestion and inhalation were the exposures Texans most frequently reported.

“Disinfectants and other cleaning products should NOT be inhaled, ingested, injected or used in any manner outside its labeled instructions,” Cristina Holloway, public health education manager for the North Texas Poison Center, said in an email to the Dallas Morning News. “There are currently no vaccines, drugs or products approved to treat or prevent COVID-19.”

About 70% of calls about hand sanitizers involved children age 5 or younger. The Texas Poison Center Network recommends keeping household products locked away and using child-resistant locks on cabinets. They also recommend not mixing products, which can cause deadly gases or fires. — Clare Proctor