A new report developed by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention suggests an increasing number of children getting sick after ingesting gel hand sanitizer. These products are widespread among American schools and homes and children can have an easy access to them.
CDC looked at illnesses in children aged 12 or younger between 2011 and 2014. They discovered that many children fell ill after consuming hand sanitizer. The officials suspect that the older children might be drinking the product because of its high concentration of alcohol.
The reports discovered that not the younger children, but those aged between 6 and 12 were more likely to consume hand sanitizer on purpose and to experience worse adverse effects. Thus, the older children deliberately misuse or consume such products that contain alcohol.
These hand sanitizers contain between 60 and 90 percent isopropyl alcohol or ethanol, as well as appealing scents that might attract the children and make them drink the products.
The effects of drinking hand sanitizer are quite serious. Children can experience difficulties in breathing, the excessive buildup of acid in the tissues, or even coma.
The first time when the CDC researchers noticed a trend in ingesting hand gel was between 2005 and 2009. Now, they decided to look at the reports between 2011 and 2014 to see if the trend increased or decreased in popularity.
They discovered that the numbers remained high. The reports showed a total of 70,669 hand sanitizer ingestions and 92 percent of them involved products that contained alcohol. Ninety-one percent of the cases were accidental and involved children aged 5 or younger, but 6,200 cases were of children between 6 and 12 years who were more likely to have ingested the products on purpose.
The reports showed that the most common symptoms were eye irritation and vomiting, but some kids had it worse. Five cases involved comas, while three involved seizures.
CDC suspects that this trend arose after many schools installed hand sanitizer dispensers or asked the children to bring their own. They found that 35 percent of the ingestions occurred in schools.
They say that soap and water are sufficient for washing in environments which are not related to health care, which include both homes and schools but, if children must use hand sanitizers, they should do so under the supervision of an adult. Also, the products should be kept out of reach.
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