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The use of a “disinfectant tunnel”, in which sodium hypochlorite is sprayed to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), may give a false sense of security and cause harmful side effects, the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, has said.
The Punjab Health Department had, on April 13, issued an advisory recommending that such tunnels should not be installed or used.
- Sodium hypochlorite has a lot of harmful effects on the human body.
- Although a 0.5% solution of hypochlorite, which is known as ‘Dakin solution’, is used for disinfecting areas contaminated with bodily fluids, including large blood spills, however, higher concentrations of sodium hypochlorite (5%) exposure may cause nasal and ocular irritation, sore throat and coughing.
- Exposure to stronger concentration (10-15%) of hypochlorite can cause serious damage to multiple organs, including burning pain, redness, swelling and blisters, damage to the respiratory tract as well as the oesophagus, serious eye damage, stomach ache, a burning sensation, diarrhoea and vomiting.
- Based on current evidence, PGIMER did not recommend disinfection tunnel for prevention and control of COVID-19, which is being installed by many States by diverting meagre resources for their installation and use.