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Calls to poison control centers spike during coronavirus outbreak


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Ask any parent, and they’ll you – kids get into the darndest things.

Right now, parents with younger ones at home have quite the task these days when everyone is home 24/7 and cleaning products are everywhere.

“All is takes is you to blink, and your kids have turned the house upside down,” said Ariana Castillo.

The Wesley Chapel has her hands busier than ever these days. She’s not only the mother of three-year-old twin girls, but she’s also pregnant with her third daughter and due in June.

Ariana admits her head is on a swivel all day, every day.

She and her husband, Anthony, are trying to keep the girls safe from the virus, as well as dangerous disinfectants around the house.

“We try to tell them and discipline them, this will cause a ‘boo-boo’ and don’t touch this because you’ll have to go to the doctor if you touch things like this,” Ariana explained.

Ariana and Anthony tell 8 on your Side they are vigilant in keeping products on high shelves and child locks in low spots to make sure the girls are safe.

But, kids will be kids.

In fact, new data from the Centers for Disease Control shows a spike in calls to poison control centers across the country since the beginning of March, including Tampa General Hospital.

“A mouth full of sanitizer is enough to put your child at risk,” said Dr. Alfred Aleguas, the director of the poison information center at TGH.

The toxicology expert for more than two decades urges parents not only to keep a close eye on their kids, but also be cognizant themselves when it comes to cleaning products. Mixing cleaning products like toilet bowl cleaner and bleach is highly toxic.

“Make sure your window is open, your fan is on, and you don’t stay in there,” reminds Dr. Aleguas.

He also urges parents to pre-program their phone with the number for the poison information center at TGH, just in case.

The toll-free number is 800-222-1222.


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