Carolinas HealthCare System
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Don’t Let Spring Cleaning Kill You
Hidden, and Not-So-Hidden Dangers of Cleaning Products

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Doctor Spotlight

Andrew Gunter, MD

Andrew Gunter, MD

Specialty: Pediatrics

University Pediatrics
101 W.T. Harris Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28262

Medical School
Medical University of South Carolina

Georgetown University

Board Certified

Although the word poison conjures images of a container clearly marked with a skull and cross-bones, harmful chemicals and substances exist almost everywhere our families spend time. Household cleaners, air fresheners and lawn care chemicals all pose risks to both children and adults. “We do tend to see more poisoning from household items in the spring, because families are cleaning house and working in the yard and garage more,” said Andrew Gunter, MD, of University Pediatrics, part of Carolinas HealthCare System. “That’s where many of these poisonous cleaners and chemicals get misused or end up in the hands of children.”

According to Dr. Gunter, reading labels, following usage instructions and knowing what to do when an accidental poisoning occurs are all equally important when it comes to managing the threats that exist in your home – during spring cleaning and all year long.

“Everyday items in your home can be poisons if they are used in the wrong way, in the wrong amount or by the wrong person,” said Dr. Gunter. Some of these items can include:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Bleach
  • Plug-in air fresheners
  • Pesticides
  • Lawn or garden fertilizer

If you’re planning to give your house and yard a good spring cleaning, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use cleaning products in a well-ventilated area. If you can’t open a window, use a fan.
  • Limit exposure to solutions with a strong smell. Bleach, gas and toxic cleaners should be used quickly and then closed tightly.
  • Keep all potentially poisonous items locked up and away from children.
  • Teach small children not to put anything in their mouths or on their skin without talking to a parent or caregiver first.

If a poisoning happens, call Carolinas Poison Center any time, day or night.


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The primary care doctors at Carolinas HealthCare System can help you get (and stay) on the path to wellness.

Call 844-881-2180 or complete an online request form to find a doctor near you.