Use of hand sanitiser linked to health problems in children

17th of March 2017
Use of hand sanitiser linked to health problems in children

Poison helplines in the US receive thousands of calls each year relating to children's adverse reactions to hand sanitisers according to the Center for Disease Control.

Products containing alcohol are the subject of most complaints with reports of eye problems and sanitiser ingestion cited among the most common issues.

Between 2011 and 2014 around 8,000 calls were logged in the US relating to children under 12 experiencing symptoms such as eye problems, vomiting, stomach pain and coughing after being in contact with sanitiser products.

Three children suffered seizures after drinking hand sanitiser while five fell into a coma and two more temporarily stopped breathing. More than 90 per cent of the children who experienced a reaction were under five years old.

However, health experts still advocate the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers among the young where their use is adequately monitored.

"Hand washing with soap and water is the recommended method of hand hygiene in non-healthcare settings," quoted the CDC report. "If soap and water are not available, use of a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol is suggested.

"Caregivers and healthcare providers need to be aware of the potential risks and dangers associated with improper use of hand sanitiser products among children and the need to use proper safety precautions to protect them.

"Using alcohol hand sanitisers correctly, under adult supervision and with proper child safety precautions - and making sure they are stored out of reach of young children - might reduce unintended adverse consequences."




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