Richmond, Virginia – Following reports that a substance used in at-home COVID-19 tests might be harmful if used improperly, the Virginia Poison Center has placed its staff on high alert.
The center advises that the reagent, which is the liquid contained inside the vials, is toxic. While the normal quantity of liquid discovered in an at-home test is not dangerous, it may cause problems for certain people who are sensitive to it.
“A very uncomfortable feeling,” Fiorella Carhuaz said, a public educator at Virginia Poison Center. “Burning sensation and irritation.”
Carhuaz reported that the center has received a small number of calls from people who have unintentionally misused the tests.
“Sometimes, it’s left on the counter and a child gets it and they might have a taste for it. We’ve also seen people that can get that confused with eye drops just because the products look very similar,” Carhuaz said.
The warning comes at a time when the United States Postal Service is delivering millions of COVID-19 at-home tests directly to people’s doorsteps.
If you are doing a test in your house, you should follow the safety precautions below:
- Store out of sight and out of the reach of children
- Do not open the test until needed
- Store away from personal belongings like eye drops
- Never let children test themselves
If you accidentally get the reagent in your eyes, you should wash the area with water for 15 to 30 seconds before calling the Poison Helpline at 1-800-222-1222.