Texas Poison Center Network: Increase in disinfectant, hand sanitizer exposure

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) While practicing good hygiene is a plus during this pandemic, the Texas Panhandle Poison Center is seeing an increase in calls related to disinfectant and hand sanitizer exposure.

“Because of the pandemic people are cleaning more frequently,  we’re washing our hands more frequently, we’re using hand sanitzers more frequently,” Ronica Farrar with the Texas Panhandle Poison Center at TTUHSC- Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy explained.

Compared to August of 2019, The Texas Poison Center Network says calls regarding bleach exposure has went up 13% while hand sanitizer exposure increased more than 80%.

“When we have those hand sanitizers out then accidents can happen, somebody can pick them up and think they were something that they weren’t,” Farrar.


The center says to prevent some of these incidents it’s best to use a familiar hand sanitizer brand.

“There was a shortage of hand sanitizer, many companies began to make hand sanitizer and because of that we now have sanitizer in cute little packaging, different packaging that does not necessarily scream hand sanitizer,” Farrar said. “It might look like something that’s a toy, food or drink that would make it more appealing to a child.”


But there could be somewhat of a silver lining to the increased use of hand sanitizers and disinfectants.

“While we’ve seen a sustained increase of cleaning products in hand sanitizer, we’ve seen a drop in some medications like antibiotics, cough and cold medications this could be due to increased hygiene people washing their hands more people wearing masks and not getting exposed to those common colds and everyday sicknesses that we’ve known for years,” Farrar explained.

If you’re looking for a safe and environmental-friendly to dispose of your old medications, TTUHSC-Jerry H Hodge School of Pharmacy and the Texas Panhandle Poison Center is hosting a Medication Cleanout on Sept 26th. Click here for details on that event.

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