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While the current circumstances surrounding 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are challenging for everyone, many teenagers are being particularly impacted. 
The stressors from the pandemic are real and how we cope with those stressors vary tremendously. Most teens are feeling sad about being isolated from their friends, missing their normal routines, possibly missing their graduation ceremonies, and worrying about the immediate future.
It is important that parents recognize the difference between sadness and depression. 
Depressed youths are more likely to attempt to self-medicate or self-harm through the use of medications and other substances. 
 As COVID-19 drives alcohol sales in the household, it increases the potential for alcohol abuse. 
The easiest place for teens to access drugs and alcohol is within their own home, and it's not necessarily the liquor cabinet attracting the most attention- it could be the medicine cabinet. 
Parents should keep all medications in a locked place. It's important to take an inventory of how many pills and bottles are remaining and to safely dispose of any unused or expired medications. For questions or poison emergencies, including overdose concerns, call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222. 
If you or your teen is experiencing emotional distress related to COVID-19, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at  1-800-273-8255. 

Case #1

A 6 year old wanted to help his mom clean the house. While the mom was cleaning the kitchen,  the 6 year old took it upon himself to clean the restroom. He filled the tub and dropped a Clorox toilet tank tab into the tub of water. When the mom heard the water running, she went to go see and saw her son looking for a towel to dip into the water to clean. Since the child touched the tab with his bare hands she called  the Poison Center because she was concerned that the child might suffer from chemical burns.  The specialist advised the mom to rinse the child's hands for 15 minutes. 

Case #2
A dad called the Poison Center after he caught his 2 year old playing with her mom's makeup. The child had makeup all over their lips & tongue so the dad checked her mouth and found she had something between her cheek and jaw. A poison specialist recommended that the dad wipe the child's mouth and rinse it out a few times. The specialist also recommended that the dad give her a snack and drink and to call back if he noticed any changes like vomiting or nausea. 

May 2020 Newsletter

 Cleaning, Disinfecting &
Poison Prevention 

A clean home provides a healthy environment for your family, especially during this time to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, panic buying has led to essential cleaning supplies becoming quite hard to find across the country. As we start to think about cleaning & disinfecting, we also need to think about poison prevention. Household cleaning products can contain hazardous chemicals and mixing cleaners can result in poisonous fumes. Therefore, extra precautions need to be taken around your home to prevent unintentional poisonings. The Texas Poison Center Network recommends that you consider the following poison prevention tips. 
CDC Definitions: 
  • Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. It does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. 
  • Disinfecting refers to using chemicals, for example, EPA-registered disinfectants, to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

 General Best Practices for Cleaning & Disinfecting: 
  • Wear gloves while cleaning. 
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. 
  • Use chemicals in a well-ventilated area (open windows or turn on fans). 
  • NEVER mix cleaning chemicals with one another. This may create hazardous gases. 
  • Prevent chemical contact with food during cleaning. 
  • Follow instructions on labels for safe and effective use of a cleaning product.
  • Only use products for their intended purpose. 
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronic. 
  • Use EPA registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface being cleaned. Click here to view EPA approved disinfectants. 
Cleaning Products: 
Bleach Products: 
  • The CDC recommends using a diluted bleach solution for appropriate surfaces. 
  • Bleach is a generic name given to any product that is used to remove color or whiten.  It does not refer to a specific compound or chemical. Household bleach generally refers to a product containing the active ingredient sodium hypochlorite.  
  • Prepare a bleach solution using household bleach by mixing:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of water or
    • 4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of water
    • leave the solution on the surface for at least 1 minute
    • Never mix household bleach with ammonia, which creates a highly toxic fume. 
  • Not all bleaching agents are the same. Some bleach products might not list the word "bleach" on the label, so it's important to recognize other names for chemical bleaching agents. These include sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide, sodium carbonate peroxide as well as many other chemicals.
  • Unexpired household bleach, as well as many other chemicals, are effective against COVID-19. 
  •  The CDC has a list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 (visit link below).
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for (concentration, application method, contact time, storage, etc.).
  • DO NOT drink bleach as it will not prevent or cure a COVID-19 infection.
  • NEVER use pool chemicals for household cleaning. 
  • Bromine and chlorine are chemicals often used to clean swimming pools or spas and usually come in tablet or powder form. If the dust from these chemicals is inhaled, which often occurs when the container is first opened, coughing and shortness of breath can result.
  • Alcohol solutions or alcohol based wipes should contain at least 70% alcohol.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. 
  • The EPA has listed Isopropyl alcohol & Ethyl alcohol as disinfectants effective against SARS-Cov-2 to be used on non-porous surfaces. 
    • Treatment of surfaces with Isopropyl alcohol should remain on surfaces for 5 minutes.
    • Treatment of surfaces with ethyl alcohol should remain on surfaces for 1 minute.
Disinfectant Sprays:
  • Lysol® is one of the most commonly used brands; however, there are many brands that are EPA approved. 
  • Disinfectant sprays should not be used on the body, whether it be humans or pets. 
  • Do not spray disinfectants directly on clothes or face masks and immediately wear them. This will cause you to inhale the chemicals and can be hazardous to your health. 
  • The incorrect use of disinfectant sprays could cause material damage, only use on surfaces listed on the label. 
Poison Prevention:  
  • Use safety locks on all cabinets. Store all household and chemical products along with any potential poisons out of reach and out of sight of small children.
  • Install child resistant locks on doors and drawers.
  • If you are using a product and need to answer the telephone or doorbell, take the child with you. Most poisonings occur when the product is in use.
  • Store all products in their original containers. DO NOT use food containers such as milk jugs or soda bottles to store household or chemical products.
  • Store food and household and chemical products in separate areas. Mistaken identity could cause a serious poisoning. Sometimes products that are poisonous look very similar to common drinks or food. An example of this is apple juice and pine cleaner.
  • Return household and chemical products to safe storage immediately after use.
  • Discard old or outdated household and chemical products

If you think someone has been poisoned from misusing a cleaning product, call   1-800-222-1222
to reach your local poi son center.You can call the national toll-free number from anywhere in the U.S., 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Want more poison information???
Don't forget to check out the Texas Poison Center Network's blog !