Health experts warn about risks of hand sanitizer - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Health experts warn about risks of hand sanitizer

Health experts warn about dangerous risks of using hand sanitizer. Health experts warn about dangerous risks of using hand sanitizer.
Alcohol amount in hand sanitizer ranges from 45 to 95 percent. Alcohol amount in hand sanitizer ranges from 45 to 95 percent.
Kitty Bishop Kitty Bishop
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Many of us use hand sanitizer to stay healthy and to avoid nasty bacteria, especially as we approach flu season.

But there are dangerous health risks to hand sanitizers that health officials want you to know about.

Health experts said hand sanitizers that are scented make them appealing to younger kids.

Most kids think it’s candy.

But after ingesting just a few squirts, kids can get alcohol poisoning, which can cause confusion, vomiting, and even absence of breath.

Earlier this week, a 6-year-old Georgia girl was rushed to the hospital after drinking hand sanitizer.

According to the Georgia Poison Center, they're seeing a spike in children swallowing the sanitizer, whether it's young children mistaking it for something else, or if it's young adults abusing the product to get drunk.

Health experts said they're in no way saying to stop using the hand sanitizer, but they warn parents and teachers to monitor the use extremely closely.

“We still want to encourage the use of hand sanitizer, we just want to point out the dangers,” said Southwest Georgia Health District’s Director of Nursing and Clinical Studies Kitty Bishop. “Recognize that you can either purchase alcohol free sanitizers and there are also the wipes.”

The amount of alcohol in hand sanitizer ranges from 45 to 95 percent, which is much higher than wine's 12 percent and beer's 5 percent alcohol content.

Experts say signs of alcohol poisoning include confusion, vomiting, and even absence of breath.

The Georgia Poison Center said they've seen a nearly 400 percent increase in calls relating to ingesting the hand sanitizer.

If you believe your child has swallowed hand sanitizer, call Poison Control immediately at 1(800) 222-1222.

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