Fact Finders: Calls increase to Arizona Poison & Drug Information Center

Fact Finders: Arizona Poison Control sees increase in calls

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - “We see hundreds of these calls every year. We already know it’s a bad idea.”

The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center is tracking a 20 percent increase of calls, compared to last year, amid the coronavirus outbreak. But, director Dr. Steve Dudley said it’s not due to comments about injecting or drinking cleaning supplies to ward off the virus.

“We haven’t, thankfully, seen any of those calls, especially when it comes down to the cleaners," Dudley said.

As of April 24, 421 exposures of household cleaners had been reported to the poison center so far this year. 116 were reported in April. In April of last year, 84 exposures to household cleaners were reported.

“This is a perfect storm of having more people doing their due diligence, stocking up on cleaners, cleaning around the house to protect themselves and their families along with people being home more often,” Dudley said.

Dudley said the scenarios they hear most often include someone accidentally drinking or touching chemicals because they aren’t in labeled containers and people inhaling chemicals while experimenting with mixing them.

Did you know?

  • Products found in the home are responsible for most accidental poisonings among children.
  • Most homes contain more than 100 products that can be harmful if you taste, breathe or touch them.
  • Most poisonings from household products, to children and adults, occur when the product is in use, not when it is stored.
  • Children under 5 are the most likely to eat, drink, inhale or splash themselves with toxic products.
  • Over-the-counter medications are involved in more poison emergencies than prescription medications.

Factors that contribute to poisoning:

  • Poisonous products are not put away immediately after use.
  • Poisonous products are stored in food or drink containers.
  • Empty product containers are discarded improperly.
  • At least one child in the family is under the age of 5.
  • Stressful situations or changes in the household’s routine (illness, holidays).

Dudley said what has been different since the spread of the coronavirus is who the potential poisonings or accidents are happening to.

“The breakdown has been 60/40, children, adults of these household cleaners, at least for our poison center,” Dudley said. "So it just goes to show you these accidental things can happen, they happen often, don’t feel embarrassed, don’t feel ashamed. It does happen. Adults are not immune.”

First aid for poisoning:

Is the person unconscious or not breathing? Call 911.

If the person has not collapsed, call the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center right away: 1-800-222-1222

The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are free and confidential.

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