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article imageCDC Warning — People are drinking hand sanitizers and dying

By Karen Graham     Aug 6, 2020 in Health
Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available can help protect you from the coronavirus—but drinking it can leave you blind or dead, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns.
Some of us older folks may remember having our mouth washed out with a bar of soap, but it is never appropriate to drink a hand sanitizer, warns the CDC. A child might try to drink it by mistake, however, some adults may think it is a good substitute for alcohol, and they would be dead wrong.
CNN is reporting that in Arizona and New Mexico, at least 15 people were hospitalized between May and June this year after drinking hand sanitizer. Four of the patients died and three were discharged from hospitals with "new visual impairments," including a 44-year-old man who suffered near-total vision loss.
The U.lS. Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly warned consumers about methanol being used in some legally imported hand sanitizers, and this includes liquids, gels and wipes. Methanol is toxic and can even poison people through their skin. Since the latter part of June, the FDA has issued several alerts.
The FDA's latest alert covers more than 100 hand sanitizer products. The new CDC report follows that announcement, a CDC spokesperson told CNN in an email on Wednesday.
In the CDC report, researchers reviewed 62 call records to poison centers in New Mexico and Arizona covering May and June. This was then followed up by reviewing medical records for additional details covering the 15 people, aged between 21 to 65.
"This investigation highlights the serious adverse health events, including death, that can occur after ingesting alcohol-based hand sanitizer products containing methanol," the researchers wrote in the new CDC report.
"Safety messaging to avoid ingestion of any alcohol-based hand sanitizer product should continue," they wrote. "Young children might unintentionally swallow these products, whereas adolescents or adults with history of alcohol use disorder might intentionally swallow these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute."
Just remember this: All alcohol-based hand sanitizers should only be used to disinfect hands and should never be swallowed. Children using hand sanitizers should be supervised, and these products should be kept out of reach of children when not in use.
More about hand sanitizers, Methanol, alcohol content, Ethanol, methanol poisoning
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