KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Calls to poison control centers are spiking around the country, including right here in the Kansas City metro.
Elizabeth Silver is a toxicologist and managing director at the University of Kansas Health System’s poison control center.
She said they’ve seen a huge increase in calls since the pandemic hit.
“We’ve really seen a spike in calls relating to cleaning products starting in March, where compared to last year, we have had a 55% increase in calls related to cleaning products. In April actually we are up to around 40-45% in calls.”
Silver said there are many reasons why calls are increasing.
“People are at home, whether it’s day care’s being shut down, more parents and families working at home, increased use of cleaning products and then just more cleaning products being purchased,” she said.
Last week, President Donald Trump made headlines when he referenced disinfectants during a televised briefing of the administration’s coronavirus task force.
“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in one minute. Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning … It would be interesting to check that,” Trump said. “It sounds interesting to me,” he added.
He later clarified that the comments were sarcastic in nature.
Even with the clarification, the poison control center has fielded one call where a person asked questions about the president’s comments and one call where a man drank a household cleaning product.
“We have had one information case that specifically referenced the briefing from Thursday, and then we did have a call about someone who ingested a product in order to cure COVID,” Silver said.
Disinfectants are meant to be used on surfaces and not ingested.
“A lot of these cleaning products, if they’re labeled as a disinfectant, that means that it’s meant to be used on a non-living surface or a non-living object basically and that has to do with how that ingredient is compounded,” Silver said.
When it comes to safety involving children and pets, Silver recommends storing cleaners out of reach.
“Keeping it up and away as opposed to underneath the sink where a small child is crawling and can easily access or using child resistant locks is another thing than keep children safe,” she said.
The 24/7 number for poison control is 1-800-222-1222. You can learn more information here.