Don’t Drink Bleach to Prevent COVID-19

By Marva J. Sneed
Host of “From Marva with Love”

On the season premiere of “From Marva with Love,” Cristina Halloway, North Texas Poison Center’s public health education manager, stopped by to talk about the warning from NTPC: “Don’t drink bleach to prevent COVID-19.” The North Texas Poison Center is again reminding residents to not drink bleach. The NTPC reports that there have been 46 cases of bleach ingestions in the North Texas Poison Center region since Aug. 1, 2020. Misleading and inaccurate information is circulating online about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

While disinfectants like bleach can help control the spread of the virus when used to clean surfaces, ingesting bleach or other cleaning products is downright dangerous and can lead to serious injury, including burns. Halloway talked about the safe use of bleach and offered safety tips to prevent severe injuries with disinfectant products.

Flyer Courtesy of the North Texas Poison Control Center 

MS: What is the first thing you should do if you are exposed to bleach?

CH: You should call the North Texas Poison. Your local poison centers in Texas are available 24/7 with specially trained and bilingual nurses, pharmacists, and physicians to help answer questions or concerns. The toll free number is 1-800-222-1222.

MS: What are the health risks of using disinfectants in this unauthorized way?

CH: You brought up a good tip to never mix cleaners, especially bleach. Bleach should never go with anything else. It is kind of that one special cleaner that when mixed with other cleaners can create dangerous gases. So we want to be careful with that. You mentioned that we want to be extra clean. We want to use something else: vinegar, bleach, ammonia; there are so many cleaners. The best thing is to pick one and stick to that one at least in that area or at least for that day until it dries. Also, the effects from someone’s exposure will depend on how they use the product especially when it comes to using bleach. They must be using it in a well-ventilated area. We could be cleaning a bathroom with no or closed windows, the door closed for privacy, you want to make sure that the area is well ventilated. The fumes are strong and cause burning eyes and if someone were to ingest it can cause burning of the throat and can cause a person to vomit if swallowed enough of it.

There can be more serious effects.There was so much more to the conversation with Cristina Halloway, to hear the full interview, click here or visit the Texas Metro News Facebook page to see the video. For more info call the Poison Control Center Center at 1-800-222-1222. Tune into “From Marva with Love” on Fridays from 11 am to 1 pm.

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