AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Calls to the Texas Panhandle Poison Center regarding hand sanitizer exposures are up since December.
Most of these calls have come from children consuming it inside their homes.
“Hand sanitizer can be deadly, if you have a small child in particular, they’re smaller, their body weight is lower and if they drink enough, they basically become intoxicated and they can have alcohol toxicity just like a college student might suffer from alcohol toxicity,” said Dr. Jeanie Jaramillo-Stametz, managing director at the Texas Panhandle Poison Center.
“Those teenagers who go through hazing, they die of alcohol poisoning. It’s the same thing, that little kids can do it too,” said Mariada George, pediatrician at Panhandle Pediatrics.
They might experience several symptoms if they drink enough.
“They will often have Ataxia, meaning they will have difficulty walking, they may have nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, headache,” said Jaramillo-Stametz.
Jaramillo-Stametz speculates numbers could possibly be up due to more people having hand sanitizer in their homes to help prevent new COVID-19 variants that have made recent appearances.
“The good thing about that is that more people are hand sanitizing like we want them to be, but on the other hand if they have this out sitting on a table, children will get into it,” said Jaramillo-Stametz.
She also believes the appearances of some of these new types of hand sanitizer brands make them look similar to water bottles.
“Many of them package them in containers that look like drinking containers, so they look like water bottles and hand sanitizer is clear, it looks like water,” said Jaramillo-Stametz.
George also says if hand sanitizer is properly made, it should taste bad.
With some new producers not putting the correct ingredients in, the bitter taste might not stick out to a child.
“Two reasons kids will want to drink it, one it’s there and two is it doesn’t taste bad,” said George.