Are Americans poisoning themselves to kill COVID-19?

Are Americans poisoning themselves trying to clean and disinfect their homes?

New data reveals that even before President Trump mentioned that perhaps disinfectants could be injected or ingested to fight COVID-19, calls to poison control centers have surged since the start of the pandemic.

Killing the coronavirus is a priority, but new stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show from January to March this year calls to U.S poison centers about cleaner and disinfectant exposures increased by 20 percent.

“Now with so many people using cleaning products, so many people being home, so many children being home, we see these increased rates,” Dr. Michael Knight, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and the Patient Safety Officer at The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates said.

The study was done before President Trump suggested last week looking into whether injecting disinfectants inside a person’s body might kill COVID like they kill the virus on surfaces. The President says he was joking.

The CDC says the increase in total calls was seen across all age groups and kids represented a large percentage of the calls.

In one case, a preschool-aged child was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance after ingesting ethanol-based hand sanitizer.

“They’re looking for things to do and if that unsecured bottle of cleaner is there sometimes it can be ingested and that’s what we’re seeing. You have to make sure your cleaning products are secure,” Knight said.

In another case, an adult woman trying to clean her groceries filled a sink with a mixture of bleach solution, vinegar, and hot water and soaked her produce.

She called 911 when she noticed a noxious smell described as chlorine and developed difficulty breathing.

“You should not be putting disinfectant on your produce to clean it. I think people are trying to do right, but they may not have the needed information on how to do it safely,” Knight said.

For more information on how to safely clean your produce, groceries, and your home the CDC has info for you.

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