People Are Drinking Hand Sanitizer, Causing at Least 4 to Die and Others to Suffer Serious Complications

August 6, 2020

Health Day

While drinking large amounts of hand sanitizer can make you sick, "you can also get drunk from it," Eric Adkins, MD, an emergency room physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Health. Hand sanitizer with ethanol contains at least 60% of the alcohol, while vodka's alcohol by volume generally starts around 40%, he says. "You're going to get the typical effects from alcohol, and bad things can happen," he says.

Sanitizers that contain methanol are particularly dangerous, Alan says. The FDA specifically warns that being exposed to substantial amounts of methanol can lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches, and blurred vision. More serious side effects include permanent blindness, seizures, coma, ermanent damage to your nervous system, and even death.

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