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Spring Is in the Air

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Spring cleaning starts with safety first. - Jemima Desir, MD, MBA, Florida Poison Information Center

Whether you are excited about spring cleaning or dreading the thought of starting this annual tradition, safety should always be at the top of your priority list. 

There are many chemicals in the products we use that help us achieve a clean home environment, but I’m sure you’re aware that some of these amazing household cleaners can potentially be toxic and lead to poisoning. This is a serious concern and it’s crucial that you take necessary precautions when using these products.

Whether you are getting ready to clean the windows, ceiling fans, floors, baseboards, bathrooms, kitchen, or just doing your laundry, here are some quick safety tips to keep in mind before you start cleaning:

Pay close attention to labels before using any product. 

Avoid getting dangerous chemicals into your eyes. 

Don’t forget to wear gloves and appropriate clothing to protect your skin. 

When using household cleaners, make sure the area is well ventilated. 

Go room by room and make sure dangerous chemicals are put away on high shelves that are out of reach or locked. Don’t rely on the product’s packaging to be a deterrent for young children. Many children still find a way to open them.

Impose proper adult supervision for all children in your household during the cleaning process.

Remember to go through your cosmetics as well and always keep them outof reach. 

If you are going to take your spring cleaning outside, avoid using pesticides on windy days and always wear gloves.

Key Things to Remember:
Always keep cleaning products in their original containers.
If you are going to reuse containers, do not put cleaning products in containers that used to have food products in them. Remember that poisoning can occur if someone ingests such chemicals. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, burning sensation (mouth, throat, and internal organs), nausea, vomiting, and organ damage, the results of which could be fatal.

Do not mix chemicals. A cleaning product might work well alone, but can create toxic fumes when mixed with other products. Poisoning can occur if someone inhales toxic gas formed when mixing chemicals. Symptoms may include breathing problems, coughing, sore throat, dizziness, and chest pain. Sometimes, these symptoms may not occur immediately.

Never leave cleaning products unattended. Keep your eyes on your cleaning products at all times. Poisoning can occur if these products are ingested or absorbed through the skin. Skin exposure can lead to irritation and inflammation.

When your spring cleaning housework is complete, why not give your household cleaners a spring cleaning as well? Only keep what you need and dispose of expired chemical products properly. As always, the experts at the Florida Poison Information Center are available 24/7 to answer your questions and provide you with guidance during a poisoning emergency.

Dr. Jemima Desir serves as the healthcare education specialist at the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions and to assist in case of poisoning emergency. Calls are free and confidential. Call 800-222-1222.

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