7yo hospitalised after ingesting hand sanitiser
Sun, 05 Dec 2010 6:22p.m.
By Ingrid Hipkiss
The parents of a 7-year-old girl hospitalised after ingesting hand sanitiser want to warn others of the dangers of the product.
Experts say sanitiser is a valuable tool to stop the spread of disease but should be treated with the same caution as other toxic household products.
In an effort to stem the swine flu epidemic, hand-sanitisers have became common-place in offices, handbags and at schools.
That's where 7-year-old Asha Glynan drank enough to end up on life support.
“She was swept into resuss, there was a team of a dozen or so waiting for her, tubes down her throat, all the bells and whistles; it was terrifying to watch... really it was the worst moment,” says Asha’s father Douglas.
She has made a full recovery now but was unconscious for 12 hours.
Doctors initially suspected a serious head injury but a blood test revealed the truth – alcohol poisoning.
“The doctor explained it to us, if you were looking at alcohol limits for driving, 20 times the limit way over,” says Chip Gresham of Middlemore Hospital.
The product Asha drank contains 60 percent alcohol and has a reasonably pleasant flavour.
Asha says she licked three squirts off her hands, but Middlemore's poison specialist, Chip Gresham, says half a cup would been needed for a severe reaction – but he says sanitiser needs to be treated cautiously.
“It's the same as if you have bleach or household cleaning products; you should lock them away until they're old enough to understand you can't drink that,” he says.
The principal at Botany Downs School didn't want to appear on camera, but told 3 News all hand sanitisers have been removed from the school.
Asha's case has been a one-off, but he doesn't want to take the chance.
Mr Gresham says that is an over-reaction; Asha's parents just want others to be aware.
“I doubt my daughter is the only child in New Zealand, or the world for that matter, who going to digest this stuff, and we could never forgive ourselves if a child is lost and we didn't speak up; it’s a terrifying experience,” Mr Glynan says.
From now on the Glynan family will be sticking to soap and water.
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6/12/2010 6:27:59 a.m.
The girl is 7 years old. Old enough to know what is good to drink and what not to drink. This stuff stinks and even if it does have that much alcohol in it I am sure it would still taste really bad to a child and for her to drink 1/2 cup of the stuff. I think there is more to this story than what has been said.I have hand sanitiser in 3 places around my home plus it is in the car and the 1st aid bag.I have had them around like this now for about 4 years and my son who is now 9 has not tried to taste it he knows it is for hands only. To the little girl I am very pleased that you are alright. Hope you will have a good Christmas.
5/12/2010 8:08:18 p.m.
Hand sanitiser has a ,"reasonably pleasant flavour"? The stuff stinks! It's hard to imagine anything that smells that bad tasting good. I haven't tried it myself, but I imagine it would taste revolting. 60% alcohol? If I drank something like that down it would come straight back up again.
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