How Safe Is It To Drink Hand Sanitizer?
The consumption of 'alcohol based hand gel' (hand sanitiser) is a relatively common problem in English hospitals. We admit a number of patients to the wards who use the opportunity to drink the sanitiser, it is readily available on all of our wards to attempt to reduce the incidence of hospital acquired infection. A patient of ours was recently found to have consistently raised blood alcohol levels despite being unable to leave hospital because of serious liver problems. After investigation, he was found to be drinking the hand sanitiser which was available in great quantities. EDIT:- the patients who tend to consume this in hospitals are usually substance dependent alcohol users and they are usually likely to drink large quantities. The products usually contain high percentages of ethanol and isopropanol. The toxic effects are reported by the poisons information centre as follows:- Ethanol Severe and potentially fatal 2000-4000 mg/L (200-400 mg/dL, 43.4 - 86.9 mmol/L) - Respiratory depression, hypotension, loss of protective airway reflexes (risk of aspiration), hypothermia, incontinence, coma, hypoglycaemia (particularly in children) which can lead to seizures. Polycythemia has b Continue reading >>