Poison center issues reminder for COVID test kits

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SYRACUSE — While officials with the Upstate New York Poison Center are encouraged to see the distribution of at-home Covid-19 test kits through local school districts and free distribution across the country through the United States Postal Service, the poison center reminds all families to remember to use proper safety techniques when using these new kits.

There are a number of different at-home Covid-19 test kits available. Each kit includes potentially dangerous compounds in the small liquid bottles inside the packaging, the agency warns, including the liquid that is used to create the chemical reaction necessary to produce a positive or negative result.

Fortunately, many of these at-home Covid-19 test kits have low volumes of these toxic chemicals, meaning most people will not become severely ill from a single accidental exposure.

“For a good number of at-home Covid-19 test kits, it is unlikely someone who is accidentally exposed to the liquid in a test kit will become sick,” says poison center medical director Dr. Vince Calleo, “However, determination of the test, ingredients, and volume is essential in determining if the liquid was toxic. If you or anyone in your home develops symptoms, please call our poison center or seek immediate medical attention.”

“We just want to remind families that the liquid bottles can look like other common household products like glue or even eye drops. Young kids could be drawn to the small bottle and could experience irritation. We want to help families avoid any potential poisonings,” said center Administrative Director Michele Caliva,

To date, the Upstate New York Poison Center has received more than a dozen calls in regard to these products.

Be sure to store the kit, like all medications and household chemicals, up and out of sight and reach of children. Be sure to read kit instructions and follow directions to ensure accurate test results. When finished with the kit, throw away immediately, the agency said.

In the case of a poisoning or for information purposes, call the center for free at 1-800-222-1222. It is open 24/7, 365 days a year. 

Each year the center manages more than 50,000 cases from health care providers, 911 operators, hospitals, industry, schools, and the general public in its 54-county service area which includes all of Central New York.

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