Health Director urges safe use of surface disinfectants for cleaning

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A Costco customer takeS advantage of the grand opening of a new store in Ridgeland, Miss., to stock up on water, bath tissue and cleaning supplies including disinfecting wipes to help deal with coronavirus, Thursday, March 12, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT) An increase in the number of disinfectant-related calls to the Pitt County Health Department COVID-19 Hotline has prompted Pitt County’s Health Director, Dr. John L. Silvernail to issue a safety warning regarding the improper use of these products.

Hotline staff has reported recent calls from residents concerning their exposure to overuse of such products causing shortness of breath, coughing, nausea, and other symptoms.

Dr. Silvernail warns, ““Using more than the recommended amount of any disinfectant is discouraged and will not make the product work better or faster. Improper use of disinfectants can be dangerous, leading to irritation of and damage to the skin, eyes, throat and lungs.”

Individuals and business owners should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for cleaning surfaces to ensure both family and employee safety.

Hard (non-porous) surfaces, that are visibly dirty, should be cleaned with a detergent or soap and water and then disinfected with an EPA-approved product.

A list of EPA-approved disinfectants for the use against COVID-19 can be found at here.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use of any disinfectant.

Bleach solutions are recommended to sanitize hard, non-porous surfaces and to make your own bleach disinfecting solution, mix 5 tablespoons of bleach to a gallon of water.

When disinfecting electronics, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning. Consider using wipeable covers. Use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens if no manufacturer instructions are available.

All information regarding Pitt County’s response efforts during the COVID-19 outbreak is available on the Coronavirus Information Page of the Pitt County website.

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