People Are Drinking Hand Sanitizer !
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning people that many people cannot drink hand sanitizers even after getting sick and even died from practice.
The CDC said in a new report released earlier this week, "Alcohol-based hand sanitizer products should never be ingested." The report detailed that, from May 30 to June 30, there were 15 cases of methanol poisoning in Arizona and New Mexico, swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers between the ages of 21 and 65.
The CDC report specifically mentioned a 44-year-old man who said he drank a hand sanitizer a few days before asking for help. The report stated that he was hospitalized for six days for acute methanol poisoning and was discharged with "near-total" vision loss.
Related: FDA Says 87 Hand Sanitizers Can Control Toxic Methanol - Here's What You Need To Know
The report focused on hand sanitizers that included methanol, which is a toxic form of alcohol. To be effective against bacteria and viruses, including new coronoviruses, the sanitizer must contain at least 60% ethanol alcohol or 70% isopropanol as the active ingredient, the CDC states.
In June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned against people using hand sanitizers that contain methanol.
It is unclear why people chose to drink hand sanitizer in these situations, and the CDC did not provide details. But it could be that people are misunderstanding the CDC and FDA's advice about hand sanitizers, or fearing contracting COVID-19 leading people to take risky decisions to stay safe .
Why is Hand Sanitizer So Bad to Drink?
Hand sanitizers usually contain alcohol that the FDA has approved for topical use. Such products usually contain ethanol (ethyl alcohol), isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol) or benzalonium chloride (a detergent). Ethanol-based products in particular can cause low blood sugar that can cause seizures in children. Until some time ago, exposure to other sources of alcohol in the child's environment was not considered more dangerous than the risk of hand sanitizer. All alcoholic products such as: beer, wine, alcohol, rubbing alcohol, mouthwash, facial toner, or hair tonic that contain alcohol, should be stored outside of and out of sight of children. However, in June 2020, the FDA announced that some popular hand sanitizers were contaminated with methanol (methyl alcohol). The news has prompted health care providers to be more vigilant.
Methanol has a much narrower range of protection than ethanol and isopropanol. Too much methanol can cause severe changes in body chemistry due to permanent blindness and death that our bodies metabolize it.
Children will usually use a hand sanitizer by putting their mouth on the pump, or by parents licking whatever was pumped out of their hands. Severe toxicity would not be expected in any of these situations, even if it was a product containing methanol.
Another issue with hand sanitizers is that they can cause stomach irritation, which can lead to nausea or vomiting.
Even a sip of methanol-tented hand sanitizer can cause poisoning in a young child. Prolonged chronic use on the skin can also be a problem. The possibility of toxicity should be considered on a case by case basis.
Some people misuse sanitizers to try to become drunk or alcoholic. If you know someone is abusing hand sanitizer, seek help. While it is not safe to drink hand sanitizers intentionally, if someone is misusing hand sanitizers containing methanol, this behavior can be fatal.
How to use Hand Sanitizer?
The CDC has special guidelines online on how to use hand sanitizers properly. When shopping for it, look for alcohol-based sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol. Apply enough sanitizer on your hands to cover all surfaces, and rub your hands together until they dry (usually about 20 seconds). Rinse or wipe the sanitizer with your hands before drying. Otherwise, it may not work well.