CINCINNATI (WXIX / Gray News) – Officials advise parents to keep COVID-19 test kits away from children at home because they may contain a harmful, toxic substance.
The Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center reports an increase in accidental exposure to a potentially toxic substance in the home COVID-19 test kit, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center said in a blog posts on its website.
Poison control centers nationwide report the same finding, WXIX reported.
This comes as more than 50 million households recently received free COVID-19 home tests from the federal government, according to Drs. Tom Inglesby, senior adviser to the White House COVID-19 response team.
The concern is sodium azide, which is in the reagent fluid used to trigger the chemical reaction that detects the presence of coronavirus, the medical center reported in their blog post.
The types of test kits vary, but they generally contain a cotton swab, test card, and extraction vial containing the reagent fluid.
When swallowed, the sodium azide in it can cause headaches and lower blood pressure.
In large quantities, according to the medical center, it can cause seizures.
The medical center said the most important call the poison centers receive is children finding the bottle of reagent liquid and putting it in their mouths or spilling it on themselves.
According to the medical center, poison centers have also received calls from adults who confuse the bottle with eye drops.
They reported that the amount of sodium azide found in the reagent fluid is small, and in most cases so far, children who have ingested some of the fluid have been OK.
The medical center warned that the weight of the person and the amount they have ingested determines the severity of the reaction they have.
To prevent accidental poisoning from COVID-19 home test kits, poison control centers recommend the following tips:
- Keep the set “up and away” out of the reach of children and pets.
- Leave the kit sealed until needed and discard immediately after use.
- Be sure to read and follow the instructions on the package before use
Copyright WXIX via 2022 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.