Fighting COVID-19: The danger of misusing household cleaning products
Household cleaning products can help keep our homes clean by killing germs that may carry a sickness or virus such as COVID-19. Along with wearing masks, practicing social distancing and washing our hands, cleaning products are one way we can fight COVID-19.
“While household cleaning products can kill germs on surfaces, it is important to remember that they are products for cleaning surfaces and are not to be used in other ways that are unsafe,” said Saria Saccocio, MD, Prisma Health Ambulatory Chief Medical Officer.
Dr. Saccocio shared what NOT to do with household chemicals.
- Don’t inject or ingest. It is never safe to inject or ingest chemicals into your body.
- Don’t wash fruits or vegetables. There is no need to bleach your fruits and vegetables before eating them or spray them down with a disinfectant. As always, just wash them with water before eating.
- Don’t wash your hands or disinfect your skin. When washing your hands or body, use soap. The use of harsh chemicals found in cleaning products can irritate your skin and can cause sores and wounds to open up on your skin. Continue to use soaps or body washes intended for body cleansing.
- Don’t drink or gargle. It is not advisable to drink or gargle cleaning products.
- Don’t inhale. Inhaling the vapor of household cleaners can be toxic to your mucus membranes, barriers that protect your body from outside sickness and viruses. Damaging your mucus membranes could make you more susceptible to catching COVID-19 as they are designed to protect you.
- Don’t mist your body. Using a household cleaner to mist your body will do you no good. If you are looking to clean yourself or your clothes, take a shower and use soap or body wash intended for body cleansing.
“If you are ever unsure of how to safely use a cleaning product, read the bottle or label. It will provide you with instructions for use and warnings for what not to do,” said Dr. Saccocio. Remember to continue to follow recommendations shared by the Centers for Disease Control.
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