Many Practice Unsafe Household Cleaning Against COVID-19

Warnings needed for prep of disinfectant solutions, use of bleach on food, applying cleaning products to skin

household cleaning products on shelf

MONDAY, June 29, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- More than one-third of U.S. adults admit to unsafe cleaning practices in the hopes of disinfecting against COVID-19, according to research published in the June 12 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Radhika Gharpure, D.V.M., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted an online survey of 502 U.S. adults in May 2020 to characterize knowledge and practices regarding household cleaning and disinfection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The researchers found that knowledge gaps existed in several areas, including safe preparation of cleaning and disinfectant solutions; use of recommended personal protective equipment when using cleaners and disinfectants; and safe storage of hand sanitizers, cleaners, and disinfectants. More than one-third of respondents (39 percent) reported engaging in nonrecommended high-risk practices with the goal of preventing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission (e.g., washing food products with bleach, applying household cleaning or disinfectant products to bare skin, and intentionally inhaling or ingesting these products). Those who engaged in high-risk practices more frequently reported an adverse health effect that they believed was due to using cleaners or disinfectants.

"Public messaging should continue to emphasize evidence-based, safe practices such as hand hygiene and recommended cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in household settings," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Published on June 29, 2020

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