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US warns US of ‘toxic’ Covid-19 test kit solution

Several poison control centers in the US have reported blue sodium poisoning from Covid-19 rapid test kits; Vietnamese experts think that the dose of the chemical in this kit is so small it’s not much of a concern.

Covid-19 test kits include sampling sticks, test extraction tubes, test solutions, tube stoppers, test trays. The test solution in the test extraction tube contains sodium azide – a colorless, odorless, tasteless substance recently warned of toxicity by the US.

In late February, the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Information Center for Drugs and Toxicology, USA, noted an increase in the number of children ingesting the chemical in extraction vials in rapid Covid-19 tests. The reason is because extraction bottles look like extraction bottles or eye drops, some people mistake them and put them in their eyes or nose, causing irritation or chemical burns. Small children can accidentally swallow the contents of the bottle, fortunately it is not a health hazard.

United States of America Today Sheila Goertemoeller, pharmacist and clinical toxicologist at the Cincinnati Poisons and Drug Information Center, estimates there are more than 200 cases of sodium azude poisoning in the kit, nationwide. The facility where he works alone recorded 38 cases of sodium blue poisoning, the most in January, when the Omicron strain was highly contagious, and demand for testing increased. In it, a woman mistook a bottle of nasal swabs for a bottle of eye drops. This person has redness and irritation, which improves after rinsing the eye with water for 10 minutes. Another couple misread the directions for use, soaking a cotton swab in the solution first and then stuffing it into their nose. They experience mild irritation, the condition is relieved after cleaning with physiological saline.

Answer VnExpress Over the weekend, Dr. Khuat Quang Son, Lecturer at Hanoi University of Fire Prevention and Fighting, said that the Covid rapid test solution contains many different chemicals, of which sodium azide is the most attractive due to its virulent nature.

Sodium azide (NaN3) also known as sodium azide, sodium azide, sodiumazide… is used in car rescue airbags and marine life buoys. In hospitals and laboratories, NaN3 is a bactericide, a preservative… It is a highly toxic substance, affecting the respiratory organs as well as the heart and brain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ingesting sodium azide can cause low blood pressure, dizziness, headaches, or palpitations. Exposure to large amounts of sodium azide is also life-threatening, causing seizures, loss of consciousness, lung damage, respiratory failure, and even death.

However, “the amount of NaN3 in the test kit is very small”, said Dr. Son. According to him, if one puts it in the eyes of adults and immediately washed, it will only cause mild irritation and redness. If the swab contains a solution dipped into your nose, all you need to do is wash it off and apply a 0.9% NaCl solution to treat minor irritation.

With the same opinion, Dr. Nguyen Hong Ha, Vice President of the Infectious Diseases Association of Vietnam, said that direct contact with sodium azide is very rare, because the solution is stored in a closed bottle, only 3 to 4 drops when instilled. , the dose is not significant. When rapid testing, people just need to follow the process, test properly, directly fall into the bin, not worry too much. Vietnam has not recorded any cases of poisoning from contact with this solution.

“During a rapid test, adults should immediately do it, keep the solution out of reach of children, after use it is safe to handle properly, don’t worry too much,” said the doctor.

The sender receives a free kit and self-test for Covid-19, at a point in No Trang Long Street, Binh Thanh District.. Photo: Quynh Tran

The sender receives a free kit and self-test for Covid-19, at a point in No Trang Long Street, Binh Thanh District.. Photo: Quynh Tran

To avoid irritation, poisoning or sodium azide poisoning, experts recommend that families store test kits in a high place, in a locked cabinet, out of reach of children. Read the kit instructions carefully.

After the test, the instrument should be placed in a sealed bag and disposed of in the trash (separate from normal household waste). All bags must be labeled “Waste with risk of containing nCoV”, concentrated in a fixed place, not combined with ordinary household waste.

In case of accidental skin contact with this solution, it should be rinsed for at least 15 minutes under running water. If instilled in the eye, rinse the eye under running water for 15-20 minutes, then apply 0.9% NaCl physiological saline solution. In case of incorrect nasal drops, you will have to blow and rinse your nose with saline solution several times. If swallowed, you will need to call 911, a poison control center for initial treatment.

6 quick steps for self-testing Covid-19 at home

Instructions for self-sampling for home testing by the Hanoi CDC.

Thuy An – Thuc Linh

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