New Craze Is Causing Comas

Savannah Moore, Co-copy editor

Hand sanitizer has become a new form of adrenaline for young kids, and the trend is growing quickly.

According to Georgia Poison Center, there has been a nearly 400% increase in calls to the center about children 12 years and younger drinking small amounts of hand sanitizer to get drunk.

Purell, a commonly used hand sanitizer, has an alcohol content of 70%, whereas vodka sits at 40%.

It only takes three or four squirts of hand sanitizer to cause alcohol poisoning, but some kids are ingesting up to six squirts and having to be rushed to the emergency room.

“It’s really scary. I have a nephew who’s getting to the age where kids are going to dare him to do stupid things like that, and I know he could get seriously hurt because of it,” senior Dakota Warner said.

The Mayo Clinic defines alcohol poisoning as over-intoxication in a short period of time that can cause a dangerous change in the breathing, heart rate, body temperature and gag reflex. At its worst, it can cause coma and even death.

According to KMBC, in 2010 there were 3,266 cases related to young children and hand sanitizer. But in 2014, that number skyrocketed to 16,117.

Dr. Gaylord Lopez of the Georgia Poison Center advises teachers to use non-alcohol based products, or disinfecting wipes instead of ingestible sanitizers.