LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Reports of accidental poisonings are up about 20 percent in the first three months of this year, according to the CDC, possibly due to overzealous cleaning to keep coronavirus out of homes.

Products like Lysol, disinfecting wipes, bleach and hand sanitizer have been sold out in stores for weeks, but they’re now haunting hospital emergency rooms.

LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK – APRIL 16: Dominican immigrant Paty Banks cleans donated groceries before bringing them into her home on April 16, 2020 in Long Island, New York. Banks said she hasn’t worked in her job as a home health care worker for a month due to the coronavirus crisis. With no unemployment benefits and little health insurance, immigrant communities have been especially hard hit by COVIOD-19 and the economic effects of the prolonged crisis. The groceries were purchased by the Democratic Socialists of America in Nassau County, Long Island. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

There are reports of children getting into cleaning products and hand sanitizer and ingesting them, of people disinfecting produce and then eating it and getting sick, and washing face masks with products that aren’t meant to clean them.

Most common safety precautions can alleviate these problems — like keeping cleaning products out of reach of children and monitoring them around the hand sanitizer. Contrary to some online claims that chemicals can be diluted to wash produce, fruits and vegetables should only be washed with water before being eaten. Cooking can also help kill any bacteria or viruses. Cloth masks can be cleaned by putting them into a normal wash and dry cycle, or boiling them for 10 minutes.

Finally, mixing the wrong chemicals is a common and recurring problem. Bleach should not be mixed with other acids, to avoid creating noxious gases, but can be diluted with water.


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