RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The Virginia Poison Center is on high alert after experts say an ingredient inside the test could be dangerous if used incorrectly.

The center warns the reagent, or liquid inside the vials, is poisonous. While the typical amount of liquid found inside an at-home test is not deadly, it can cause reactions.

“A very uncomfortable feeling,” Fiorella Carhuaz, a public educator at Virginia Poison Center told 8News. “Burning sensation and irritation.”

She says the center has received a handful of calls for people accidentally misusing the tests.

“Sometimes, it’s left on the counter and a child gets it and they might have a taste for it,” she explained. “We’ve also seen people that can get that confused with eye drops just because the products look very similar.”

The warning comes as the U.S. Postal Service sends out millions of at-home COVID tests straight to people’s doorsteps.

“If you think about it, we’re asking people to conduct mini experiments at home,” Carhuaz said.

“Who doesn’t have one nowadays in the home. The odds are that they are going to use them at some point, but hopefully they won’t have any accidents.”

Related coverage: White House finalizing details to send free COVID tests to Americans soon, report says

If you have a test in your home, you’re encouraged to practice the following safety measures:

  • 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 get the reagent in your eyes, you’re encouraged to wash the area for 15 to 30 seconds then call the Poison helpline.

If you or a loved one is exposed, call the Poison hotline number at 1-800-222-1222.

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