Pandemic Side Effect: Poisonings on the rise

U.S. & World

(NBC News)  Households that have stocked up on cleaning supplies and medicine to protect against coronavirus are now dealing with an unexpected and dangerous side effect: accidental poisonings.
  
Calls to Poison Control have risen dramatically.
 
“We’ve seen a 50 percent increase in calls of disinfectants and bleaches,” says Adina Sheroff, a registered nurse at Boston Children’s hospital.
 
Sheroff says right now the majority of calls involve children under 5, particularly young toddlers. 
 
“They’re naturally inquisitive, they’re attracted to the colors and sometimes the cleaners can look like juice so they drink it,” she says. 

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control reports a 20 percent increase in calls to poison centers starting in March, when stay-at-home orders began and there was a run on cleaning products.

Forty percent of those increased calls involved kids under the age of five, but also adults who’ve, for example, accidentally inhaled fumes after mixing cleaning products.

Medications, including over-the-counter painkillers and cold medicine, have also been ingested.
 
“Everything should be stored up high and locked if you have young children so they cant access it,” Sheroff warns.

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