AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Laundry pods don't just pose a threat to young children, but also those with dementia.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission tells NewsChannel10, two children and six adults with cognitive impairment have died over the past five years as a result of ingesting the pods.
Executive Director at Autumn Leaves Memory Care David Rasband said those who have dementia often revert to a time when they were younger.
"You think 70 years ago, these laundry detergent pods, they didn't exist," said Rasband. "So when I come across that and my mindset is from 60 years ago or 50 years ago, I don't recognize that because it's something that's new technology."
If they don't recognize the pods, Rasband said they may also compare them to candy-like products like children do.
He said those with dementia often progress to a child like state.
"I think the phrase that many people use is 'once as an adult and twice as a child'," said Rasband. "We get to a point further in that dementia where we are more like a five-year-old, six-year-old, eight-year-old... all the way to the point where we become more like a 2-year-old where everything that we do has to be told to us."
Local health officials want you to know that laundry pods still pose a major safety risk to children.
According to the Texas Panhandle Poison Center, they have received more than 1,300 cases of children who were exposed to laundry pods last year.
However, Managing Director at the Texas Panhandle Poison Center Jeanie Jaramillo-Stametz said they see differences between child and adult cases.
"Children often have ocular eye exposures to the laundry pods and we're not seeing that in the dementia patients," said Jaramillo-Stametz. "We feel that's because children will play with the pods and squeeze them and that results in the eye exposure, whereas the elderly generally just view it as food, perhaps, and put it in their mouths."
Because the pods can dissolve in your mouth, Jaramillo-Stametz also said it's important to be aware of the symptoms.
"If they swallow that, that results in exposure through ingestion," said Jaramillo-Stametz. "It can also cause irritation of the mouth, nausea, and vomiting and it can be aspirated to the lungs which can be pretty severe."
You're advised to keep laundry pods out of reach, and even locked away from those they could cause harm to. If you think your loved one swallowed a laundry pod, call the Texas Panhandle Poison Center at 1(800) 222-1222 and ask for help.