Coronavirus: People are dying from drinking hand sanitiser during pandemic

People are losing their vision, suffering seizures and even dying from drinking hand sanitiser, a study has found.

During the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen almost 19 million cases and 706,000 deaths worldwide, the use of hand sanitiser has been strongly recommended - leading to product storages in many countries including Australia.

But while most are using sanitiser correctly, others are instead ingesting it, leading to serious illness and in some cases, death.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focused on two US states, Arizona and New Mexico, and found 62 call centre records from patients with possible methanol poisoning.

Fifteen of those had swallowed hand sanitiser and were admitted to hospital.

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Swallowing hand sanitiser has been found to cause blindness, seizures and even death. Source: Getty/FILE

Over the two-month study period, four patients died and three others suffered varying degrees of vision loss.

Six patients, including three of the patients that died, developed seizures in hospital.

One 44-year-old man presented at hospital because of a sudden loss of vision.

“The patient reported drinking an unknown quantity of alcohol-based hand sanitiser during the few days before seeking medical care,” the CDC report said.

The man was discharged six days later with near-total vision loss.

“Persons should never ingest alcohol-based hand sanitiser,” the study stated, adding that sanitisers that contain methanol should be avoided.

The CDC recommends sanitisers made with ethanol or isopropanol.

Researchers found that adult consumption of hand sanitisers was more likely in people with a history of alcohol use disorder.

The study was completed over two months between May 1 and June 30, 2020.

The patients were aged between 21 and 65, and 13 of the 15 patients were male.

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