A preschooler with a blood alcohol level more than three times the level most states consider too drunk to drive had fallen and hit her head when she was taken to the hospital. On the way there, she vomited and on arrival was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit. A 64-ounce bottle of ethanol-based hand sanitizer, left open on a kitchen table explained her condition.
A woman was soaking her produce in a mixture of bleach, vinegar and hot water, when she started coughing and wheezing, and was taken by ambulance to an emergency room.
Both patients recovered, but their stories are two examples of episodes reported to poison control centers which between January and March this year rose 20% over calls during the same three months in the previous year, and more than 16% over calls during those months in 2018, according to an analysis in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s April 24 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, that was released today.
While data indicating a direct attribution to efforts to prevent COVID-19 are not available, the timing of rising calls to poison control centers corresponded to rising awareness of the threat of COVID-19 spread as well as recommendations to clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces to lessen transmission risks, the authors of the analysis write.
Common sense should still prevail, they note, cautioning that cleaning and disinfecting chemicals should be used in accordance with label directions, with indicated eye and skin protection, and not left in the reach of children.