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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hand Sanitizer Alcohol Poisoning

Hand sanitizer! We see it everywhere, from bathrooms to office coffee tables and it seems rather innocuous. Hand sanitizer is extremely effective at killing germs and bacteria due to its high concentration of alcohol; unfortunately, the amount of alcohol in sanitizer makes it extremely dangerous for children if used inappropriately. In fact, the amount of kids going to emergency rooms skyrocketed in recent years. There has been a nearly 400 percent increase in calls to poison control centers linked to children ingesting hand sanitizer since 2010, CNN reports. The findings come from an analysis by the Georgia Poison Center.

Wine and beer have an alcohol content of 12 and 5 percent respectively, according to Dr. Gaylord Lopez, the center's director. Hand sanitizer, on the other hand, consists of 45 to 95 percent alcohol. In does not take much sanitizer, just a few squirts, to cause alcohol poisoning. In 2010, poison control centers reported 3,266 hand sanitizer cases. In 2014, the number cases involving young children increased to 16,117 cases.

"Kids are getting into these products more frequently, and unfortunately, there's a percentage of them going to the emergency room," said Dr. Lopez. 

While some children may be trying to get drunk on sanitizer, Lopez points out that children consume it for a number of reasons. Kids may ingest it because it looks like it may taste good or their friends may dare them to try it. Last week, Lopez sent a letter to the Georgia school system - highlighting the dangers of hand sanitizer, according to the article.

“A kid is not thinking this is bad for them,” said Lopez. “A lot of the more attractive (hand sanitizers) are the ones that are scented. There are strawberry, grape, orange-flavored hand sanitizers that are very appealing to kids.”

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