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COVID-19 test kit safety tips

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 6:32 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - As at-home COVID-19 testing kits make their way to door steps, health care professionals are stressing the importance of paying attention to instructions to avoid putting yourself in a hazardous situation.

“Anytime we have something novel and new come into a household, we typically see an increase in calls to poison centers across the United States,” Dr. Elizabeth Scharman said.

Scharman is the clinical and executive director of the West Virginia Poison Center. She says a key material in the testing kit looks a lot like something many people use in their daily routine.

“We’re already seeing cases where people have their eye drops on their bathroom counter, they’ve got the solution that they’ve set out on their counter and then they inadvertently put the test kit solution in their eye instead of their eye drops,” Scharman said.

The West Virginia Poison Center says while severe poisonings from the contents of the kit are not expected, mistakes can cause unwanted symptoms.

“With anything it’s always about the dose and the concentration. So, fortunately with concentrations in these products, in the worst case, most people are going to get irritation from it. So, it may sting your eyes, it may burn your nose-- which we can manage,” Scharman said.

Scharman also says there will never be a time when you put the nasal swab in the solution first. If this happens, the test is ruined.

To avoid making the mix-up or risking younger children getting their hands on these materials, Scharman recommends using the kit immediately and throwing away the pieces right after.

“It’s easy to misuse them, so just know you’re not alone if it takes a little bit of time to figure out how to use the kit,” Scharman said.

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