Hand sanitizer is a real threat for children as they face the risk of alcohol poisoning when ingesting the often nicely scented substance.
According to poison control centers across the U.S. and the Georgia Poisoning Center, the number of cases in which hand sanitizer is a real threat for children increased by 400 percent compared to 2010. While 2010 saw 3,266 cases of children ingesting hand sanitizer being reported, by 2014 the number increased to 16,117 reported cases.
Hand sanitizer is a harmless substance when used accordingly. Even a useful one as it is used to kill the germs we come in contact with daily. However, as it contains alcohol in any percentage between 45 and 90, it may become as dangerous as any strong alcoholic drink when children ingest it.
Judging by the worrying spike in reported cases of children ingesting hand sanitizer, this could easily turn from a matter of concern for daily hygiene to a serious health issue. Attracted by the yummy flavors hand sanitizer comes in, including strawberry, orange or grape and its jelly like consistency, many gulp it down.
Taking into account the high percentage of alcohol that hand sanitizer contains, it’s easy to imagine how many of them end up in the emergency room presenting all the symptoms of being drunk.
In more severe cases, children dehydrate severely as they vomit or have diarrhea. Nausea, confusion, dizziness, fainting and others are soon to follow.
Doctor Gaylord Lopez, who is the director of the Georgia Poisoning Center:
“Kids are getting into these products more frequently, and unfortunately, there’s a percentage of them going to the emergency room”.
Some of the children ingest hand sanitizer unknowing of the risks. Others are looking for a cheap buzz and experimenting with alcohol via more unconventional means. And others are drawn into the habit by dares launched by their friends and schoolmates.
Hand sanitizer is a real threat for children. If you’re looking for an alternative to hand sanitizer, doctors recommend soap and water. Or using wet wipes that have the same sanitizing properties.
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