Child hand sanitiser poisoning cases spike in Spain

27th of October 2020
Child hand sanitiser poisoning cases spike in Spain

The number of children treated in Spain for accidental poisonings after ingesting hand sanitising gels has soared during the pandemic, according to the Spanish government.

A total of 874 cases of intoxication from hand sanitiser have been reported so far this year compared with just 90 during the whole of 2019 according to the country's National Toxicological and Forensic Sciences Institute.

Two-thirds of the cases involved children, many of them under the age of two. Most of the youngsters actually swallowed the hand sanitiser although some became intoxicated after getting the product in their eyes or inhaling it.

Justice minister Juan Carlos Campo called the figures "alarming" and urged parents to keep hand sanitisers away from children, adding that youngsters should always be supervised by an adult when sanitising their hands.

Spain is not the only country to see a rise in incidents involving alcohol gels as worldwide sales of the products soar.

A total of 505 incidents were reported to Belgium's poison control centre between March and July - more than five times the number as the previous year. Again, many of the cases involved children.

And in Australia's New South Wales more than 1,000 calls about alcohol-based hand sanitiser poisonings were made to the NSW Poisons Information Centre between February and July this year. This is around two and a half times the figure during the same period in 2019 according to senior specialist in poisons information at the centre Genevieve Adamo.

Common symptoms of hand sanitiser poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing, blurred vision and red eyes.



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