Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 31, 2014

Characteristics of hand sanitizer ingestions by adolescents reported to poison centers

Mathias B. Forrester

Abstract

Background: There had been reports of adolescents using hand sanitizers to obtain alcohol and ending up in emergency departments with alcohol poisoning.

Objective: This study aimed to describe the pattern of adolescent ingestions of hand sanitizers reported to a statewide poison center system.

Subjects: Our study subjects included patients aged 13–19 years who reported hand sanitizer ingestions as reported to Texas poison centers during 2000–2013.

Materials and methods: The distribution of the ingestions was determined for various demographic and clinical factors.

Results: Of 385 total cases, 61% of the patients were male, and the mean age was 15.3 years. The ingestion reason was unintentional (61%), intentional abuse/misuse (18%), and malicious (10%). Ingestion site was most frequently reported to be the patient’s own residence (53%), followed by school (35%). About 77% of the patients were managed on site. The medical outcome was serious (moderate effect or unable to follow-potentially toxic) in 5% of the cases. The most frequently reported adverse clinical effects were vomiting (5%), abdominal pain (4%), nausea (4%), throat irritation (4%), and drowsiness (2%).

Conclusion: Adolescents who ingested hand sanitizers were more likely to be male and younger. One-third of the ingestions occurred at school, suggesting that school personnel might be made aware of the potential problem of hand sanitizer ingestions by adolescents. Nevertheless, despite the potential for serious outcomes from adolescent hand sanitizer ingestion, most of the ingestions reported to poison centers are not likely to be serious and can be successfully managed outside of a healthcare facility.


Corresponding author: Mathias B. Forrester, BS, Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit, Texas Department of State Health Services, 1100 W 49th Street, Austin, TX 78756, USA, Phone: +1-512-776-7111, Fax: +1-512-776-7689, E-mail:

Acknowledgments

There was no study sponsor or unique source of support.

Conflict of interest statement

The author is aware of no conflict of interest.

References

1. Leikin JB, Paloucek FP, editors. Poisoning and toxicology compendium with symptoms index. Hudson, OH, USA: Lexi-Comp Inc., 1998;266–8.Search in Google Scholar

2. Gormley NJ, Bronstein AC, Rasimas JJ, Pao M, Wratney AT, et al. The rising incidence of intentional ingestion of ethanol-containing hand sanitizers. Crit Care Med 2012;40:290–4.Search in Google Scholar

3. Schneir A, Clark RF. Death from ingestion of an ethanol-based hand sanitizer in the emergency department waiting room. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2012;50:711–2.Search in Google Scholar

4. Forrester MB. Potential toxicity of hand sanitizers. TX Public Health J 2010;62:27.Search in Google Scholar

5. Miller M, Borys D, Morgan D. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and unintended pediatric exposures: a retrospective review. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2009;48:429–31.Search in Google Scholar

6. Alsop JA, Daubert GP. A two-year review of pediatric liquid hand sanitizer ingestions. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2008;46:605.Search in Google Scholar

7. Darracq MA, Ghafouri N, Pesce A, Cantrell FL. Significant hand sanitizer intoxication following crude extraction method with in vitro ethanol concentration analysis. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2012;50:711.Search in Google Scholar

8. Herbert JX, Cassidy N, Tracey JA. The need for prevention of intentional ingestion of alcohol hand gels in Irish hospitals. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2009;47:481.Search in Google Scholar

9. Bookstaver PB, Norris LB, Michels JE. Ingestion of hand sanitizer by a hospitalized patient with a history of alcohol abuse. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2008;65:2203–4.Search in Google Scholar

10. Roche KM, Barko IR, McDonagh J, Bayer MJ, Sangalli B. Hand sanitizer abuse. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2006;44:633–4.Search in Google Scholar

11. Gorman A. A troubling trend in teens drinking hand sanitizer. Los Angeles Times April 24, 2012. Available at: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-hand-sanitizer-20120424,0,4801404.story.Search in Google Scholar

12. Mowry JB, Spyker DA, Cantilena LR, Bailey JE, Ford M. 2012 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS): 30th Annual Report. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2013;51:949–1229.Search in Google Scholar

13. Forrester MB. Changes in Texas poison center call patterns in response to H1N1 influenza outbreak. TX Public Health J 2012;64:14–8.Search in Google Scholar

14. Eronen AK, Mustonen H, Hoppu K. Pandemic hand hygiene recommendations increased inquiries related to alcoholic hand sanitizers in children under 6 years. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2011;49:237.Search in Google Scholar

15. Thrane EV, Skjerdal JW, Ziesler T, Borgeraas J. Pandemic flu increases risk of poisonings in children. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2010;48:265.Search in Google Scholar

16. Forrester MB. Adolescent synthetic cannabinoid exposures reported to Texas poison centers. Pediatr Emerg Care 2012;28:985–9.Search in Google Scholar

17. Forrester MB. Adolescent synthetic cathinone exposures reported to Texas poison centers. Pediatr Emerg Care 2013;29:151–5.Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2014-3-1
Accepted: 2014-4-17
Published Online: 2014-5-31
Published in Print: 2015-2-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

Scroll Up Arrow