Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, received her PharmD degree from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Pharmacy in 2006 and completed a 2-year drug information residency. She served as a pharmacy professor at NSUâ€™s College of Pharmacy for 6 years, managed the drug information center, and conducted medication therapy management reviews. Dr. Gershman has published research on prescription drug abuse, regulatory issues, and drug information in various scholarly journals. Additionally, she received the Sheriffâ€™s Special Recognition Award for her collaboration with the Broward, Florida Sheriffâ€™s Office to prevent prescription drug abuse through a drug disposal program. She has also presented at pharmacist and physician continuing education programs on topics that include medication errors, prescription drug abuse, and legal and regulatory issues. Dr. Gershman can be followed on Twitter @jgershman2
- Recent report demonstrates adverse effects are occurring in young children.
This CDC report sheds light on the fact that alcohol hand sanitizers may be abused by children. Pharmacists can play an important role in educating parents and children on the dangers of ingestion.
- Educate parents and teachers on appropriate storage of hand sanitizers.
Keep in mind that a hand sanitizer pump dispenses about 2.5 ml of liquid.3 If an average 2-year-old child weighing 33 pounds (15 kg) ingested one pump of a 62% alcohol-based hand sanitizer, then a blood alcohol level of 17.3 mg/dL would be expected. This is below a toxic level of 80-100 mg/dL. The same child would have to drink about 4-5 squirts of the sanitizer to cause toxic effects requiring medical attention.3 Hand sanitizers produce a burning sensation when swallowed, which can prevent children from ingesting harmful amounts. However, some children will drink anything or they may be abusing the products. Educate parents and teachers to contact the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 immediately if they suspect their child has ingested hand sanitizer.
- Discuss appropriate use of hand sanitizers.
- Santos C, Kieszak S, Wang A, et al. Reported Adverse Health Effects in Children from Ingestion of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers-United States, 2011-2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017;66:223-226. doi;http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6608a5.
- Hand sanitizer. AAPCC website. http://www.aapcc.org/alerts/hand-sanitizer/. Accessed March 2, 2017.
- Hand sanitizers: how toxic are they? Texas Poison Center Network website. http://poisoncontrol.org/hand-sanitizers-how-toxic-are-they/. Accessed March 3, 2017.