26 September 2023

Health warns on alcohol cleaner

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NSW Health is reminding parents that alcohol-based hand sanitiser is dangerous if swallowed, particularly by children.

Senior Poisons Specialist at the NSW Poisons Information Centre, Genevieve Adamo said the Centre had seen a spike in the number of calls due to hand sanitiser exposure incidents involving young children.

“Even a small amount can be harmful for young children and babies,” Ms Adamo said.

“Hand sanitiser products should be stored safely and out of reach of children,” she said.

“Regardless of the quantity, people should always call the Poisons Information Centre for first aid and monitoring advice and should ensure they have the container of the ingested product with them.”

Ms Adamo said consumers should be aware that imported products may not be clearly labelled and could contain more toxic alcohols such as methanol.

“Products may also be packaged in a range of container types, including beverage containers, which can increase the risk of accidental ingestion and poisoning,” she said,

“Additionally, there have been reports of people making their own hand sanitiser, which may increase the risk of potential poisoning.”

Ms Adamo said calling the Poisons Information Centre hotline first could prevent unnecessary trips to the Emergency Department and thereby prevent the risk of expose the COVID-19.

The Poisons Information Hotline number is 13 11 26.

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