Inaccurate and misleading information is the reason why experts at the North Texas Poison Center believe people continue to drink disinfectants like bleach.
"We certainly are not used to seeing bleach ingestion, at least that frequently in such a short amount of time, and we do know in general this year compared to last we’re seeing a whole lot more of bleach exposures," said Cristina Holloway, the public health education manager at North Texas Poison Center located at Parkland Hospital.
Since Aug. 1, the center has received 46 calls related to people drinking bleach, she said.
The local center is one of six in Texas and she said it serves 46 counties in North Texas. She said the majority of the calls that come into the North Texas Poison Center were from Dallas and Tarrant counties, plus some from Collin County and others.
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Holloway said they know for a fact that some callers have mentioned COVID-19 as a reason for why they ingested the disinfectant.
"We do know that there’s a lot of misinformation through the media, through the internet, so that can also be a contributing factor where people are misinformed and hear it from a neighbor or a friend and think it sounds like a good idea when it could potentially be dangerous," she said.
She said the majority of the nearly 50 calls were not severe cases, but 12 people did seek medical attention.
Holloway said not all the cases are intentional.
"We do know that more people are using these products more than ever before and typically when we have more of those products, using products, we see more exposure, more accidents will happen," Holloway said.
She said it's important for people to follow instructions on the label, store the products in a safe area and not to consume the cleaning supplies.
If you have questions or need help, call 1-800-222-1222.