The West Texas Regional Poison Center is reporting an increase in calls of about 70 percent which may be attributed to health concerns regarding children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizers and/or cleaning products.

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health is issuing a reminder to residents of the importance of proper use, handling and storage of hand sanitizing and disinfecting products during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the West Texas Regional Poison Center, most hand sanitizers contain high concentrations of ethyl alcohol—between 60 and 70 percent. Young children are more susceptible to the alcohol’s potentially toxic effects and if ingested children may experience dizziness, drowsiness, changes in behavior, and even dangerously low blood sugars.

Other product concerns include the use of bleach and household cleaners that are being highly used to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The poison control agency has seen a 71 percent increase in cases involving bleach and a 63 percent increase in cases involving household disinfecting products reported during March and April of this year compared to previous years.

Anyone who has small children in their home should store these cleaning products in their original container and away from the grasp of children.

For any poison emergency - The West Texas Regional Poison Center is available 24/7 at 1-800-222-1222 with specially trained and bilingual nurses, pharmacists, and physicians to help answer questions.

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