June 27, 2022

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UK: COVID-19 outbreak caused hand sanitizer poisoning by 1.5 times

UK: COVID-19 outbreak caused hand sanitizer poisoning by 1.5 times

UK: COVID-19 outbreak caused hand sanitizer poisoning by 1.5 times.  According to British Medical Journal: COVID-19 outbreak has increased the incidence of hand sanitizer poisoning by 1.5 times.

UK: COVID-19 outbreak caused hand sanitizer poisoning by 1.5 times

A survey released by “BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine” on December 1 showed that the number of poisoning incidents caused by alcohol hand sanitizer has increased sharply due to the impact of the epidemic. The British National Poison Information Agency reported that 155 cases of poisoning were reported from January to September last year, while 398 cases were reported during the same period this year, an increase of 157%.

According to Georgia Richards, the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Science, Oxford University, in one case, a 30-year-old woman received antidepressant treatment in a mental hospital. She was found dead on the hospital bed one day, beside a container with hand sanitizing gel. All patients can easily obtain this disinfectant gel from the public dispenser.

The coroner found that her blood contained a high concentration of alcohol (214 mg in 100 ml of blood). The combination of excessive alcohol and venfalacine inhibited breathing, resulting in death.

The other case was a 76-year-old man who swallowed a large amount of alcohol disinfectant foam on his hands. The report pointed out that the patient had a history of agitation and received antidepressant treatment, and the confusion symptoms have become more frequent in the past 9 months, which may be a manifestation of vascular dementia.

He was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of 463 mg per liter when he was poisoned, and after 10 hours it dropped to 354 mg per liter. The old man was sent to the ICU to receive treatment with lorrazepam and haloperidol, and was ventilated to allow the alcohol to metabolize naturally. Unfortunately, the patient still developed complications and died 6 days later. The main causes of death are bronchopneumonia and acute alcoholism, secondary to acute confusion and coronary artery disease.

At the beginning of the epidemic, alcohol-based hand sanitizers have become one of the world’s most sold products, and many places such as homes, hospitals, schools, and workplaces are equipped with a large number of them, which may bring safety hazards. However, the publicity of the toxicity and fatal risks of these products is not enough.

Richards suggested that in order to reduce the potential toxic harm caused by hand sanitizer, we should educate the public and medical and health personnel to increase safety awareness and increase warnings on the product. If a risk occurs, it should be reported to the public health authority as soon as possible.

People who have this habit of swallowing things intentionally or unintentionally are most worthy of caution, including children, people with dementia or mental disorders, and people with mental health problems. In the process of distributing hand sanitizer within the community, we can put it in a lockable vending machine to reduce pollution and improve safety.

In the United States, which is across the ocean from the United Kingdom, reports of alcohol hand sanitizer poisoning have also increased significantly. The National Poisons Data System (NPDS) of the United States shows that between January and November, 55 poison control centers reported 32,892 cases of hand sanitizer poisoning, an increase of 73% over the same period last year.

Robert Bassett, deputy director of the poison control center at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital in Pennsylvania, said that detergents and disinfectants have been on the market for a long time, and their toxicity has not changed. Under the COVID-19 epidemic, the frequency of use of these products increases, and the risk of exposure is also higher.

The over-stressed health care system and the global depressed environment have led to a series of deterioration of health conditions, resulting in increased risks of suicide and self-harm. People who want to self-harm can have access to hand sanitizer at any time, which leads to a significant increase in the risk of hand sanitizer poisoning.