Poison control says hand sanitizer craze getting toxic for Panhandle


t's a dangerous trend among teenagers, drinking hand sanitizer to get drunk. It's been in the national headlines, but now, the craze has found it's way to the Texas Panhandle.

It can lead to death and it has health officials issuing a stern warning to parents.

"They're finding out hand sanitizer contains a high percentage of alcohol and because of that they're consuming it as hard liquor



said Dr. Shu Shum, Texas Panhandle Poison Center.

But hard liquor contains less alcohol than hand sanitizer, a startling fact. Most contain 60% or more, making alcohol poisoning a scary possibility in this latest teenage trend.

"The reason for that is a youngster

could have

low blood sugar

particularly if they're neve to alcohol. They can also lose concussion and they might start to have seizures," said Dr. Shum.

Other signs to watch for, confusion, vomiting, slow or irregular breathing, blue tinged or pale skin. All dangerous signs that can lead to death.

"A youngster can die from it there are incidents of fatal ingestion of alcohol poisoning that happened



said Dr. Shum.

The Texas Panhandle Poison Center says this year 132 cases of exposure to hand sanitizer have been reported. The latest happened Thursday.

A teenager ingested two bottles at a local high school. She was rushed to the hospital, according to scanner traffic.

And it's not just teens drinking it straight from the bottle, but they can disguise drinking it in cokes, or water. They're even coming up with creative ways to break it down to a liquid thanks to the internet.

So what can parents do to combat this latest scare?

"Education is important

to let them know the danger of it and other this is to encourage them to have a habit of good hand washing," said Dr. Shum.

He also says there are hand sanitizers that do not contain alcohol and advises all parents to use those instead.

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