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Children consuming hand sanitizers for its alcohol content, says CDC report

The curiosity and the desire to explore new things inherent in children helps them open windows to a new world full of fun and excitement. However, their expedition might also lead to unintended trouble. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed that an increasing number of children were consuming hand sanitizers, both intentionally and accidentally. According to the report, titled “Reported Adverse Health Effects in Children from Ingestion of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers — United States, 2011–2014,” children ingested hand sanitizers more than 70,000 times during 2011-2014.

According to details provided by various poison control centers to the National Poison Data System, nearly 92 percent of these episodes involved consumption of hand sanitizers containing alcohol. Though both alcoholic and non-alcoholic sanitizers can have negative health impact, the effects of alcohol-based sanitizers are more dangerous. The researchers also said that some children in the higher age range might be consuming sanitizer to enjoy the high alcohol content. Of all the respondents, over 6,000 cases involved children aged six to 12 and the researchers said these had high probability of being intentional ingestions.

Smell of hand sanitizers attracts children

Looking at children’s liking for smell of hand sanitizers, they might have knowingly swallowed it, the study said. The problem aggravates during the flu season as some kids carry with them hand sanitizers to schools to prevent accumulation of germs and microorganisms. Hand sanitizers are deemed more effective than washing hands with soap and this increases the use of the product.

According to a report published online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, washing hands with soap and water is recommended in non–health care settings but if soap and water are not available, one can use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol

The study did not report of any deaths due to ingestion of hand sanitizer. Vomiting and stomach pain were the most common problems among kids who consumed hand sanitizer. However, some serious problems were also recorded, such as five cases of coma and three cases involving seizures. The study said that older children might be aware of the content of sanitizers and must have consumed them to achieve a cheap buzz.

Getting drunk on hand sanitizers

One may ask if it is possible to get drunk on hand sanitizers. This depends on the kind of alcohol used in the making of the hand sanitizers. Prior studies have indicated that a 240 ml of hand sanitizer may contain alcohol equivalent to roughly five shots of hard liquor. There are kinds of alcohol in some hand sanitizers that might destroy the nervous system and internal organs if not flushed out timely. Some kinds of alcohol may also result in intoxication, stuttered speech, blurred vision and giddiness.

Before purchasing and using, people usually tend to miss out looking at the chemicals that go on to make the hand sanitizers. Children being the most vulnerable are prone to its hazardous and detrimental effects whether consumed purposefully or innocuously.

Road to recovery

Alcohol addiction can be arduous to get rid of, if not treated timely. Various agencies including the government have designed strategies and implemented guidelines to manage Americans’ proclivity toward alcohol, though there has not been much relief.

If you or someone you know has been battling alcohol dependence, get in touch with the 24/7 Recovery Helpline for Drug and Alcohol Addiction for information on alcohol addiction rehab centers in the U.S. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online with our representatives for expert advice on treatment centers for alcohol addiction.

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