Poison Center advises against some home health remedies

CHARLESTON–People seek health advice everywhere from TV shows, YouTube, Internet searches, and celebrities. Despite what these sources say, some of these health trends can be dangerous to the person using them. In addition, having these products inside of the home, place young children at risk for severe injury or life-threatening effects if swallowed.

According to the toxicology experts at the West Virginia Poison Center, the following popular items are examples of dangerous home health remedies below:

Turpentine, also referred to as pine tree oil

Turpentine is commonly used to help thin out waterproof paints and cements, varnishes, and wood fillers. Turpentine, purchased where construction items are sold, is available in different concentrations with some being even more toxic than others. While some on-line sources claim many health benefits from drinking a small amount daily, swallowing turpentine is a risk for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, delirium, seizures, and other life-threatening effects.

If a little is used to remove paint from the skin, and then promptly washed off, skin irritation is less likely. Larger quantities, longer time leaving turpentine on the skin, or daily use can result in skin damage and lung irritation from inhaling fumes.

Hydrogen peroxide, Especially food grade (35 percent)

Hydrogen peroxide should not be swallowed. There has been some recent confusion between food grade hydrogen peroxide and the 3 percent hydrogen peroxide found in the first-aid section. Food grade hydrogen peroxide is used in food processing and hair dying; it is too toxic to be swallowed, rubbed on the skin, or dropped into the ear. Burning of the esophagus or stomach lining if swallowed, skin burns if placed on the skin, ear canal burns if dripped into the ear, or eye burns if accidently splashed into the eye, can cause painful damage.

Bleach

Bleach should never be used on your skin. Some people believe using bleach on a poison ivy rash will quickly heal the area. However, the risk of skin burns or worsening rashes needs to be considered.

Non-Medicine Head Lice Treatments

Rubbing gasoline, kerosene, or pesticides on the scalp will not guarantee removal of head lice. The risks include skin injury or rashes. Eye injury can occur if the product gets into the eye when the hair is washed. Pesticides can cause severe poisoning if they are absorbed through the skin or swallowed during bathing.

None of these remedies are supported by research, but research does show they can be dangerous. Unlike prescription or over-the-counter medications, these items are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, they may contain chemicals not listed on the label. In addition, testing has not been done to ensure the chemicals are not breaking down the storage container causing the metal or plastic to dissolve into the product.

If you suspect you or your loved one have been exposed to a hazardous substance, call the West Virginia Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

The West Virginia Poison Center provides comprehensive emergency poison information, prevention and educational resources to West Virginians 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The WVPC is staffed by nurses, pharmacists and physicians with special training in treatment of poisonings. Located in Charleston, WV, the WVPC is a part of the West Virginia University-Charleston Division and located next to CAMC Memorial Hospital. Toll-free:1-800-222-1222. Website:www.wvpoisoncenter.org.

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