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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Minnesota: Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Poisoning on The rise

Poison Control Inundated with Hand Sanitizer Calls

Poison Control Centers have been inundated with calls about hand sanitizers. Health officials say ingesting it can be potentially harmful to children. They say hand sanitizers contain more alcohol than a bottle of vodka.
Hennepin County Poison Control Center told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it has been flooded with emergency calls about hand sanitizer. In one case, a 77-year-old with dementia mistakenly drank nearly an entire bottle. However, health officials say children are at the greatest risk.

"Daycare, they got into the bottle or we squirted something on their hands after lunch to to wash their hands and one kid thought it smelled good and licked it," said Kirk Hughes from Minnesota Poison Control, giving an example of some of the calls they have been receiving.

He said in some cases children are mistaking the colorful bottles for juice. He said small amounts are harmless, but a few mouthfuls could leave them legally drunk.
"An intoxicated child is a medical emergency. They can actually go into a low blood sugar coma or diabetic coma," said Hughes.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control updated it's recommendation to include new alcohol-free sanitizers.

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