A mum has issued an urgent warning to fans of Zoflora after she was left in a great deal of pain when it came into contact with her eyes and nose.
Andrea Brown from Northern Ireland saw a new scent of Zoflora in a store.
She reached out for the box it was in on the shop shelf, and went to unscrew the lid close to her face so that she could smell it.
However the lid had not been put on correctly, and the product went all over her facemask, and up her nose and into her mouth.
Andrea runs a popular Instagram account called Lets Hinch and Be Happy, and described the horrifying moment on her page, Belfast Live reports.
The Belfast mum-of-one said she was sharing her ordeal in a bid to highlight the dangers of the popular disinfectant when used incorrectly.
She wrote: “I’m writing this post to show the implications, the danger of smelling products and to raise awareness of being extremely careful for yourself, for your household and for others.
“Zoflora is a household product and have significant symbols and instructions on the box how to use correctly. It’s a product that I love as it’s a disinfectant which kills 99.9% bacteria and it’s advised to use in cool or warm water. Spray bottles are used when product is diluted down.
“The liquid within the bottle just new from shops is highly flammable, can cause skin irritation, is harmful to aquatic life and what happened to me has alerted me and warned me just how harmful the product is when not used correctly or when someone can’t be careful within a shop.”
Andrea told Belfast Live : “It was in a store that the incident happened. As I grabbed the box down from the shelf I was about to smell the product as it was a new scent released by Zoflora and as I went to put my nose to the bottle the lid was not put on correctly, and with my grip of the box and bottle the content of the Zoflora bottle went all over my facemask, up my nose and into my eyes. It’s unfortunately a lesson learnt for myself and hopefully others that we should not smell cleaning products in store.
“We are all guilty of wanting to smell the newest scent but this accident has made me aware of the implications on how dangerous products are. With using Zoflora for many years now I knew that on the box it was advised that if in contact with skin rinse with cold water immediately and thats exactly what I did. I bought 6 bottles of water, got outside the shop and threw the bottles of water over my face but the irritation continued.”
Continuing her post Andrea said: “We left and went home my skin was on fire. The irritation behind my nose honestly was extremely sore. The back of my throat was on fire and the irritation to my teeth made me feel they were honestly about to fall out. I rang the doctors who told me to get to A&E straight away. I went and seen a pharmacist who advised a&e as well so up to A&E I had to go.”
Having attended A&E in Dundonald where Andrea described the doctor who treated her as ‘fantastic’ she was checked over and told that her eyelashes and lid helped prevent serious long-term damage to her eyes.
She continued: “He ‘[the Doctor] said this could have been much worse if you had not soaked your eye in water and if I hadn’t came to a&e. He then took me to a basin and had me flush the eye out with solution. Due to the amount that was in my eyes, around the eye the irritation was causing behind my nose and throat to be on fire.
“He checked my throat for damage and nose for damage but thankfully it was only irritation that would settle in time. After checking my eyes out again the doctor gave me 2 different types of eye drops which I have to use 4X a day for next 5 days and 1 2X a day. The doctor at Dundonald A&E was absolutely fantastic and I’m entirely grateful for him.”
The 26-year-old has urged people who are tempted to smell the latest Zoflora scent whilst out shopping to replace the lids properly.
“When Zoflora release a new scent we are each guilty of wanting to smell the newest scent to see if we like it. Some of us will buy just to support and have the newest scent however I urge you please screw the lid tightly on the bottle IF you smell the scent instore.
“Please understand this is in no way the company of Zoflora or the store’s fault but it’s awareness to show that when this happens and it can happen and did happen that how bad the products can affect you. I was very lucky.
“Please follow the direction on the packaging. Please read the packaging. Please send a message to the company of your worried or curious about anything relating to the product. We must understand how dangerous the products can be when they are used INCORRECTLY.
“This could have happened with various different brand of products not just this one. We are in this community together. Let’s learn together and if we need any help please always ask questions. We are in this together. I’m still a Zoflora lover. I will continue to use the product as it’s a fantastic disinfectant but it’s taught me to just lift the product and not smell while in the shop and if I don’t like I can give the product to someone else.
“I’m going be very cautious now with smelling things as it does scare me but luckily I’m ok. It could have been much worse. Just please use correctly, please be cautious and mindful.”
Zoflora have reiterated Andrea’s comments and urged customers not to smell the products
A spokesperson said: “We are always very sorry to hear of any incident relating to Zoflora Concentrated Disinfectant.
“We appreciate it when consumers help to raise awareness regarding using Zoflora safely, and the importance of reading the warnings and on pack instructions on cleaning products.
“Zoflora has a history of safe usage in households spanning almost 100 years, and we must state at the outset that our products comply with all safety, packaging and labelling regulations relating to disinfectants, and their sale to the public.
“As with all household cleaning products, the packaging includes full details regarding the ingredients and how to use Zoflora, and the potential risks associated with the ingredients within the product. This product can produce allergic reactions, eye irritation and skin irritation if the instructions for usage aren’t correctly followed, or the product accidentally comes into contact with skin or eyes. The pack also advises use of protective gloves and eye protection where necessary, especially when the product is undiluted.
“We strongly urge our users not to open bottles of Zoflora in store to smell prior to buying, and to always be extremely careful to replace the lid correctly after using the product. Effective household cleaning products such as Zoflora need to be handled with care and in accordance with the instructions on the pack, as they can be harmful when they come into contact with the eyes, mouth and skin. We strongly recommend that extra care is taken with this type of product both in stores and at home, as well as reading all on pack instructions and warnings prior to use.
“If splashed in the eyes or on the skin, we recommend that users rinse immediately with clean water and seek medical assistance if required, retaining the product carton for reference. If accidentally ingested, we recommend that medical advice is sought immediately via the NHS 111 service.
“Thornton and Ross continually monitor the quality and performance of our products, and feedback from customers is an integral part of this. We do take incidents of this nature seriously and appreciate customers taking the time and trouble to contact us.”
The company have also reached out to Andrea and wished her a speedy recovery.
The spokesperson added: “As @letshinchandbehappy has mentioned in her post, this was an accident due to someone not replacing the lid properly in a store, and we would urge all Zoflora users to avoid removing the lids of products before purchase, and to ensure that lids are replaced tightly after use. We appreciate @letshinchandbehappy for raising awareness of the importance of product safety when using her loved Zoflora disinfectant and other household cleaning products, and wish her a speedy recovery.”