Hand sanitizer abuse has increasingly growing problem in recent years. What started off as a dangerous trend among adolescent age teens and children in classrooms has become a nation wide phenomena for intoxication. The sanitary part of hand sanitizer comes from the stringent quality of alcohol. Hand sanitizer can contain 60% or more alcohol.
Why Do People Abuse Hand Sanitizer?
The high alcohol content in sanitizer, along with its wide availability and often cheap price, is the draw to abusing hand sanitizer.
Can You Actually Get Drunk On Hand Sanitizer?
According to chemistry.about.com, 240 ml of hand sanitizer can contain the alcohol equivalent of about 5 shots of liquor. People mix hand sanitizer gel with salt to chemically separate the alcohol and distill their own alcohol. Others combine the hand sanitizer with Listerine, a mouthwash that also has a high alcohol content.
What Are The Risks Of Drinking Hand Sanitizer?
More than the various chemicals included in hand sanitizer is the high alcohol content. Some hand sanitizer is made not with ethyl alcohol but isopropyl, commonly known as rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol also has a high potency of alcohol. The result is a dangerously high and potentially fatal alcohol content.
Consuming high amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time can lead to sudden liver failure and/or alcohol overdose. One recent account of a six year old who ingested just four pumps of a strawberry scented hand sanitizer left her with a BAC, blood alcohol content, of .179 which is twice the illegal limit of a full grown adult.
Alcoholic intoxication of any kind always leads to concern regarding impaired judgment, executive decision making, and sensorimotor function. Consumption of high alcohol content can lead to injury, accident, and death.
How Do I Know If A Loved One Is Abusing Hand Sanitizer?
If a loved one is abusing hand sanitizer, they will not likely be able to hide their intoxication due to the high alcohol content. Additionally, hand sanitizers, even when scented, have a particularly astringent smell. When mixed with other alcoholic substances, like Listerine, the smell will not be masked. Getting intoxicated on hand sanitizer can occur just from licking it off one’s hands. If a loved one is buying and asking to use hand sanitizer more often than normal, there may be a problem present. Check for smell on the body and the breath as well as for regular signs of intoxication.
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