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Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2015 Feb;27(1):69-72. doi: 10.1515/ijamh-2014-0014.

Characteristics of hand sanitizer ingestions by adolescents reported to poison centers.



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


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


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


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


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%).


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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