Hand Sanitizer can be a very effective way to clean/sanitize when soap and water are not readily available. In the last several years, hand sanitizer can be found in numerous areas. From hospitals and nursing homes to daycares and schools and everywhere in between, hand sanitizer are prevalent.
Recently, I saw a story on television that discussed a new danger with hand sanitizer. A group of teenagers were admitted to an emergency room in California for alcohol poisoning. That part of the story may not be new but the alcohol was from drinking hand sanitizer. Unfortunately, alcohol based sanitizers have a high level of alcohol, usually above 60% in content. Why hand sanitizer? “Sanitizers are inexpensive and accessible, and with distillation instructions available online, teens are taking advantage of the 62 percent ethyl alcohol content and turning a product designed to sanitize hands into a 120-proof drink (reports CleanLink). The article continues, experts comment that drinking the sanitizer is similar to a shot of hard liquor. Just a few drinks can cause a person’s speech to slur and stomach to burn, and make them so drunk that they have to be monitored in the emergency room.”
So what can be done to minimize this threat? “Experts recommend purchasing foam sanitizers over the gel options. It is reportedly more difficult to extract the alcohol from foam and teens would be less likely to consume it” (CleanLink). Education is the next key. Starting in elementary, children should learn how to properly wash their hands and how to safely use hand sanitizer. Education and communication are the key ingredients to keeping our children safe.