As the hotter weather drives more insects indoors, Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC) doctors are advising Qatar residents to take care when using chemicals to get rid of these pests.
The toxicity in pesticides can hurt the brain and nervous system, or cause fertility problems or increase the risk of certain cancers if inhaled, absorbed through the skin or consumed, said Dr. Saad Abdulfattah Al Nuaimi, senior emergency room consultant.
He offers this advice for those using pesticides at home:
- Read the label. The directions on usage will help reduce risk while helping you get rid of the insects plaguing your home. Products’ labels should also be checked for an Environment Protection Agency (EPA) registration number, which helps ensure quality control. And finally, labels will mention the types of dangers associated with using the product, and warn you if gloves or goggles must be used, or if kids or pets should stay away from treated areas.
- Exercise caution when using the product. Remove contact lenses before handling pesticides, and wash hands and body parts that come into contact with the pesticide after using, including under the fingernails. Never eat, drink or smoke while using the chemicals, and where protective equipment if required.
- Buy only what you need. Storage of pesticides is tricky. The chemicals should always be kept in their original containers with their labels intact, and stored in an area reserved only for pesticides.
- Act quickly in an emergency. If a person exposed to pesticides becomes unconscious, has trouble breathing or goes into convulsions, call 999 immediately, or have someone else make the call while giving first aid. The Mayo Clinic has some tips on first aid steps, including flushing the skin/eyes with cool or lukewarm water, that can be viewed here.