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Hand sanitisers may not be that safe for children: study


While millions of parents think using hand sanitiser is keeping their kids germ free, a recent report has pointed out the potential dangers of the product.

There have been numerous cases of kids suffering eye irritation, vomiting, and abdominal pains after coming into contact with hand sanitiser, a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found.

Between 2011 and 2014 there were 70,000 calls to poison helplines in the US for kids under 12 who had ingested, inhaled or got hand sanitiser in their eyes, according to the report released yesterday.

Of these five children lapsed into a coma after and three children had seizures. And in two extreme cases, children stopped breathing temporarily.

Most of those exposures – 91 percent – were children five years old or younger, believed to have ingested the products by accident.

However, for children ages 6 to 12, 15 percent of exposures were no accident, “suggesting that old children might be deliberately misusing or abusing alcohol hand sanitisers,” the report stated.

Researchers also found that hand-sanitiser-related incidents for kids of this age group were less likely to occur during the summer months, perhaps because children may have more access to the products during the school year or during flu season.

But experts are not saying to stop the use of hand sanitiser all together, just to monitor your kid’s use of it. They said next to soap and water, alcohol-based hand sanitisers are the next best option.

The report said: “Hand washing with soap and water is the recommended method of hand hygiene in non-health care settings.

“If soap and water are not available, use of a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol is suggested.

“Increasing awareness of the potential dangers associated with intentional or unintentional ingestion of alcohol hand sanitisers might help encourage proper use and avoid adverse outcomes.

“Caregivers and health care providers need to be aware of the potential risks and dangers associated with improper use of hand sanitiser products among children and the need to use proper safety precautions to protect children.

“Increased parental or teacher supervision might be needed while using alcohol hand sanitiser products, especially for older children who might be abusing these products during the school year.”

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