BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – Poison control officials want to make sure the 60 million people who have ordered at-home COVID-19 test kits are being careful with the contents.
“Across the country right now, poison centers are getting a lot of calls due to kind of an unintended consequence of the test kits coming out,” Florida Poison Control Media Specialist Mike McCormick told Nexstar’s WMBB.
Each at-home testing kit comes with a tube or two which contain the extraction reagent. While the ingredients vary based on the test kit, the reagent is toxic.
It’s important to store them in hard-to-reach or secure places, so children can’t get to them.
McCormick explained that while exposure to the reagent isn’t likely to be deadly, it is causing concern. The problem is storing tests in areas like the bathroom or not throwing them away after use.
McCormick said people are mistaking the reagent for their eye drops.
“Burning is the thing that you’re really going to come up with,” McCormick said. “And the eye is, you know, obviously very fragile and so you’re going to know it right away when you do it and it is definitely uncomfortable.”
McCormick said in this scenario, immediately wash your eyes in warm water for at least 30 seconds, then call poison control.
The national hotline number for Poison Control is 1-800-222-1222.