GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — As more people get COVID-19 testing kits in the mail from the government, local giveaways and stores, the North Carolina Poison Control is receiving calls concerning the kits.
“We’ve had a handful of them, from all various different mistakes, accidents or unintentional things that have happened,” said Dr. Michael Beuhler, medical director N.C. Poison Control. “They’ve all been very benign.”
Beuhler said the kits contain solutions to balance the pH and a chemical preservative, sodium azide.
“Sodium azide is the one that has probably risen to the top of people’s concerns because that one is probably one of the most toxic components to the kit,” he added.
While that may sound concerning, he said people shouldn’t worry too much.
“What I understand about azide and what we’ve seen before and treated, this is not enough to cause a concerning type, life-threatening, dangerous issue,” Beulher said. “At best, we might see a little bit of dizziness, we might see a headache, we might see symptoms that are short-lived and not life-threatening.”
Regardless, Poison Control is especially warning parents of ingestion by kids to prevent any type of illness.
“Is there enough to make a child sick? That is something that is being debated because you have to consider the child, you have to consider the tolerance, you have to consider the amount, consider was the stomach empty or full,” he said.
In addition to ingestion, Beuhler said it can also cause eye irritation.
“People see these little bottles and a mistake gets made, and someone tries to put it in their eye like an eye drop,” said Beuhler. “That can be a problem.”
Beuhler added it’s best to lock up these test kits, out of children’s reach, but if an accident does happen, they encourage parents to call Poison Control. The national number is 1-800-222-1222. The line is open 24/7 with trained specialists.