People are dying after drinking hand sanitizer, CDC says

People are dying after drinking hand sanitizer, CDC says
People are drinking hand sanitizer during the coronavirus pandemic with disastrous and deadly results.

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Some people are getting sick and in extreme cases dying after drinking hand sanitizer, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Four people have died, and three others were discharged from hospitals with visual impairment from May 1 through June 30. The cases were reported in Arizona and New Mexico.

“Alcohol-based hand sanitizer products should never be ingested. In patients with compatible signs and symptoms or after having swallowed hand sanitizer, prompt evaluation for methanol poisoning is required. Health departments in all states should coordinate with poison centers to identify cases of methanol poisoning,” the CDC said in a new report.

A CDC team described the cases of 15 adults in Arizona and New Mexico hospitalized for methanol poisoning after consuming alcohol-based hand sanitizers between May and June.

A 44-year-old man was treated at a health care facility because of visual impairment. Doctors said the man drank hand sanitizer a few days before seeking medical care.

His case was complicated by seizures. The patient was treated with fomepizole and underwent hemodialysis. He was released from the hospital after six days for methanol poisoning and was suffered near-total vision loss.

“Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizer products containing methanol can cause life-threatening methanol poisoning. Young children might unintentionally swallow these products, whereas adolescents or adults with history of alcohol use disorder might intentionally swallow these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute,” the CDC said.

Severe methanol poisoning resulting in permanent disability or death can occur after swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing methanol.

The CDC advises people to only use hand sanitizer as instructed and to check with the FDA on updates on hand sanitizers people should not use.

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