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Protecting Our Children, The Dangers Of Hand Sanitizer Alcohol

Updated on April 25, 2012
Purell An Alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Purell An Alcohol based hand sanitizer.

Hand Sanitizer-A Warning

I choose to write this hub not to inform you on the dangers of Swine Flu or on the decision of whether to vaccinate your children or not. Honestly, I do not believe that I am educationally inclined to write on either one of those topics as I am having a hard time deciding myself on these issues. What I can and will write on is an email I received today concerning antibacterial hand sanitizer and the pandemic use of this sanitizing gel due to swine flu and other bacterial illnesses. Please take a moment to read my encounter with this emotionally powerful email because if you have children or grandchildren it may just save their life.

Please pass this on- It may save a life

Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, school teachers and everyone else who comes in contact with children. This email is a must read.

"Yesterday, my youngest daughter, Halle who is just 4 years old,
was rushed to the ER by her father for being severely lethargic
and incoherent in her classroom. He was called to her school
by the school secretary who said that she was "VERY VERY SICK" .
He told me that when he arrived at her classroom, Halle was
barely sitting in the chair. She couldn't hold her own head up
and when he looked into her eyes, she couldn't focus them.
He immediately scooped her up and rushed her to the closest
ER, and then called me. When he got there, they ran blood test
after blood test and did x-rays, every test imaginable. Her white
blood cell count was normal, nothing was out of the ordinary.
When I arrived at the ER, the doctor there told us that he had
done everything that he could do so he was transferring her to
Saint Francis Hospital for further tests.
Right as we were leaving in the ambulance, her teacher arrived
at the ER and told us that after questioning Halle 's classmates,
She had found out that our little girl had licked liquid hand sanitizer off of her hands!
Hand sanitizer, of all things. But it makes sense. These days they
have all kinds of different scents and flavors and when you have
a curious child, they are going to put all kinds of things into their mouths.

When we arrived at the Saint Francis' Hospital ER, we told the ER
Doctor there to check her blood alcohol level, and yes we did get
weird looks, but they did it.
The results showed her blood alcohol level was 85% -- six hours after we first took her.. There's no telling what it would have been if we would have requested it at the first ER. Since then, her school and a few surrounding schools have taken the liquid hand sanitizers out of all the lower grade classes. "

After reading this email I am also inclined to ask this question; what's to stop middle and high schoolers from ingesting this stuff for a quick high? Its sold in every store in town and It can be found right in the school bathrooms, the nurses office, the classrooms! How long will it take for the older kids to catch on? Appearantly not long. As I update this hub I found today an article from yahoo detailing the serious consequences of distilling hand sanitizer to use as shots of alcohol by teenagers. Should you like to read the article it can be found here :

This has an effect on everyone regardless of age. Please do not disregard this info. Take the time to pass it on and save a life.

The scary truth of this story can be verified here:

Facts On Hand Sanitizer

After reading this email I decided to do some research on the internet, and confirmed that it only takes 3 squirts of hand sanitizer ingested to fatally wound a toddler wherein smaller amounts can cause intoxication or alcohol poisoning. Three squirts of this substance, ingested into the body of a small child, a toddler, is equivalent to 3 shots of 120-130 proof liquor. Children have literally gotten drunk after ingesting this potently toxic chemical due to its high alcohol content. That's because, to be effective in killing and preventing the spread of germs that cause the flu, hand sanitizer needs to contain between 60 and 95 percent ethyl alcohol or isopropanol anything less would be inefective. For example, Purell, a well known popular brand of hand sanitizer contains 62 percent of ethyl alcohol. Purell is equivalent to 124 proof alcohol. That means that it contains more alcohol than beer 6 proof (3% alcohol), wine 24 proof (12% alcohol) and vodka which is at a whooping 80 proof. Imagine a child ingesting that. Even a small amount licked from a childs hand, as in the case above, can cause dizziness, disorientaion, headache, stomach ache or slurred speech.

Use And Safety

With the seriousness of the Swine Flu comes the entourage of vaccine and protection information to go along with it. Danger not only exists with this physically dibilitating condition but also in the actions we take to combat it. Is hand sanitizer safe for children? The companies say yes "if used according to directions". The argument is up for debate but the choice ultimately is yours.

While the concern regarding the use of hand sanitizers with children is truthful, they continue to play an important role in preventing the spread of illness and infection. More importantly, they continue to be used in schools and daycares. The best way to keep you sane and your children safe is to teach them how to properly use hand sanitizer.

Here are just a few tips:

  • Use Alcohol free hand sanitizer if possible!
  • Hand Sanitizer should not be used as a primary means of disenfecting hands. Hand sanitizer will not penetrate grease or food nor will it kill the bacteria that can form within its residue. Because of this, and since it demonstrates less effectiveness against norovirus (stomach flu virus) than against other microbes, even the best hand sanitizer should only be used as an adjunct to hand washing in all settings. Good old soap and water are still the key to combating the flu!
  • Closely supervise children during use and always, always keep hand sanitizer out reach of children as the packaging is not child proof!
  • After application to hands, which should only be the size of a dime, make sure hand sanitizer is completely dry before touching anything including pens, tissues, mouths, eyes, nose etc. Remind young children that this is how the residue can be transmitted from your hands to your mouth.
  • Explain the dangers of hand sanitizers to your children if mis-used.
  • Inform children to never apply the gel to cuts or abrasions as often times this burns!


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    • profile image

      Jana Free 5 years ago

      Does anyone know of any hand sanitizers that are not alcohol based?

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 6 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Really?! That's very interesting! LOl and if it happened to anyone it would be me because that's my luck! Thanks for reading, glad you could relate!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Very informative hub! Just recently a study stated that too much use of sanitizers can possibly make one fail a sobriety test! Imagine officer I haven't been drinking, I'm just a hand sanitizer addict! Great job! Voted up/awesome!

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Me too. Its scary. Until I wrote this hub I didn't realize how much alchohol was in hand sanitizer. Really, this warning should take effect at home more than at school. I can't imagine if my little girl accidentally got a hold of a bottle of this and ate it (not that she would as I only use soap) but I would be devestated. I can't imagine how the parents of this little girl felt. Thanks Tom!

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 7 years ago from home

      Well it makes sense when you think about it the use of alcohol swabs before a shot- I feel sorry for that kid But I have to admit....they do make them smell really good-I could see sr high students mixing it with water or juice to get buzzed great hub- I am glad our school uses the " soap smelling kind"