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As individuals are asked to disinfect due to coronavirus, poison control cases are increasing.


Karen Blakeslee, coordinator of the Kansas State University Rapid Response Center, said in a release that an April 24 article from the CDC indicates the number of incidents received by the nation’s poison control centers between January and March, 2020, increased by more than 20% from last year.


In the article, a woman filled a sink with a mixture of 10% bleach solution, vinegar and hot water, and soaked produce that she had purchased at the grocery store. She was transferred to the hospital after experiencing breathing difficulties caused by the chemical mixture.


“The message here is that we need to use cleaners and disinfectants as directed and for the type of surface you are cleaning,” Blakeslee said in the release. “And it’s important to note that you do not need to sanitize groceries after bringing them home from the grocery store.


“What the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends is that you wash your hands when returning from the store, put your groceries away safely, then wash your hands again.”


According to Blakeslee, the CDC’s recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting home surfaces are fairly simple: wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect, and use soap and water to clean surfaces. To disinfect areas of the home, the surface should first be cleaned with a simple solution of soap and water or a mild detergent if the surface is dirty, followed by a household disinfectant.


Blakeslee notes the CDC has recommendations for using bleach solutions, when appropriate for surfaces being disinfected. The CDC’s recommendation for a safe bleach solution is 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.


Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may also be used.


When reviewing disinfectants for the home, “do not mix any of these cleaners together thinking it will be a better cleaner,” Blakeslee said. “That is dangerous.”


Poison Control can be reached at 1-800-222-1222.