By Brittney McNamara. Photo: Getty.
Hand sanitizer is great for when you get off public transportation, or when you use a particularly nasty bathroom, but you should never, ever be drinking it. Ever. Unfortunately, some young people didn't get that message.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows young people ingested hand sanitizer more than 65,000 times between 2011 and 2014, and those are only the times that were actually reported. According to the CDC, young people and kids could be ingesting hand sanitizer because it smells good, since the report notes sanitizer often comes in kid-friendly scents, while people ages 6 to 12 may be ingesting it in an attempt to get drunk. No matter the reason, ingesting hand sanitizer can be really harmful, and can even lead to seizures.
Most of the more than 65,000 young people drinking hand sanitizer are under 5 years old, but according to reports to the National Poison Data System, young people ages 6 to 12 are most likely to ingest hand sanitizer with alcohol on purpose, while the correlation with alcohol content was not found with younger children. While younger kids are more likely to experience negative symptoms from the alcohol exposure, the CDC report indicates drinking hand sanitizer with alcohol in it is overall more harmful than sanitizer without alcohol. Symptoms of drinking hand sanitizer can include, nausea, vomiting, cough, abdominal pain and more. Rare effects include coma, seizure and others.
Luckily, only 866 young people ages 6 to 12 drank alcohol-based sanitizer on purpose between 2011 and 2014, meaning it's not an epidemic. Still, it's not good.
Of course, we have no way of knowing exactly why young people between 6 and 12 are more likely to drink the kind of hand sanitizer with alcohol on purpose than the kind without alcohol. It could be a slip of the hand. But we think that's probably not the case, and young people may be using hand sanitizer as a way to get drunk. It's been happening for years. But just because a lot of people do it doesn't make it safe. As we mentioned, drinking hand sanitizer can have some serious health risks, and according to BuzzFeed, it could cause you to do some really scary things. Because it has such a high alcohol content, Medical Daily points out that, yes, hand sanitizer will get you drunk really quick but it also might give you alcohol poisoning.
Basically, drinking hand sanitizer is just a really, really bad idea, and there's no way it tastes good. Don't do it.
This story originally appeared on Teen Vogue.
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