More Kentuckians Poisoned Fighting Coronavirus

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says calls to poison control centers across the country received more than 45,000 calls tied to cleaners and disinfectants in the first three months of the year. That is a 20% jump. Kentucky is seeing a similar trend. 

In March, the Kentucky Poison Control Center of Norton Children’s Hospital saw a 30% increase in overall exposure calls related to disinfectants. 

“The data shows many of the exposures are from consuming or inhaling these products,” says Maria Chapman, poison prevention coordinator with the Kentucky Poison Control Center, which also operates the Kentucky COVID-19 Hotline. “We’ve had reports of young kids drinking hand sanitizer, as well as adults breathing in toxic fumes as they mix together combinations of cleaners.”

  •  56% increase in household cleaner poisonings
  •  30% increase in hand sanitizer poisonings
  •  80% involve children

Chapman says, “We do a good job with cleaning products most of the time. We realize they are dangerous. We keep them put away, so when they are down where kids can get them, it’s something new and fascinating. When they are down where kids can get them, it’s something new and fascinating. Unfortunately, kids like to explore the world by tasting and touching things.”

Last week, President Donald Trump wondered if the ingredients used in disinfectants might somehow be used to treat coronavirus. Doctor Ashley Webb with the poison control center, says everyone is looking for answers.

“Everybody is worried and they are looking for a way to treat this and so they are looking at options that may not be grounded in science, so, unfortunately, we do expect to see increases.”

To keep you and your family safe, here are some suggestions:

  • Store household cleaning products out of your child’s view
  • Install child safety locks on cabinets containing poisonous items
  • Follow product instructions when using them
  • Do not mix chemicals

If you need help, you can call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222.