You may preach about the dangers of alcohol to your teens. You might even lock up your liquor cabinet.
But do you monitor the hand sanitizer in the bathroom?
Doctors are warning parents about a dangerous trend they have spotted: Teenagers are drinking hand sanitizer in a bid to get drunk. Liquid hand sanitizer is 62 percent ethyl alcohol and makes a 120-proof liquid, reports KTLA in Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, many teens who ingest hand sanitizer are landing in hospital emergency rooms with alcohol poisoning. "It doesn't sound appealing, but you have to remember that kids don't have access to alcohol so they're very creative," Dr. Billy Mallon, who works in the emergency room at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center, told KTLA.
While teens think guzzling hand sanitizer is harmless or even funny, it's actually quite dangerous. And it's very accessible and cheap. Hand sanitizers are sold over the counter in grocery stores and drugstores, and easy-to-follow instructions on distillation are quickly available online.
"It's essentially a shot of hard liquor," Cyrus Rangan, director of the toxicology bureau for the L.A. County Public Health Department and a medical toxicology consultant for Children's Hospital Los Angeles, told KTLA. "All it takes is just a few swallows and you have a drunk teenager. It is kind of scary that they go to that extent to get a shot of essentially hard liquor."
What happens when hand sanitizer is ingested? Even a little bit can cause slurred speech and a burning feeling in the stomach. It can also cause a person to become so drunk, he or she must be monitored in the ER.
What can parents do? If you purchase hand sanitizers for your home, buy the gel type since it's harder to extract the alcohol, which makes it less likely to be ingested as a quick high. Parents should also monitor its use just as they would any liquor or medications.
--From the Editors at Netscape