While Hand Sanitizers have been keeping the virus at bay, studies suggest the dangerous hazard that the alcohol-based sanitisers pose to the little ones. Kids below 4 are at the risk of several eye injuries, serious in some cases.
According to data drawn from French poison control and a hospital for children in Paris, there have been widespread reports about accidental eye damage to children under 18. The numbers have spiked up in the last 5 months in comparison to 2019. The results are said to be perilous in nature.
As per reports in a leading daily, Dr Sonal Tuli, a clinical spokeswoman who reviewed the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) study findings, was quoted as saying, “ Eye injury due to exposure to hand sanitiser “is a known complication. Tuli was quoted as “This is a concern not just for children but also adults and health care workers,”. There have been no recent comparable studies in the U.S., to my knowledge, but I believe similar accidents are happening here, too, she further adds.
The findings of the study can be accessed online. It was published on 21 January 2021 in JAMA Ophthalmology.
Kids are prone to be injured easily as Hand Sanitizers are accessible in public spaces, and it can squirt into their eyes.
In France, the situation is so severe that the country has issued a national health warning.
Since sanitiser stations are mostly at their eye height, kids 4 and under are more at risk.
There is a high concentration of ethanol in many hand sanitisers that can kill cells in the cornea, placing young children at increased risk of severe eye injury.
During the first half of 2020, over 17,000 cases of hand sanitiser injury were recorded by the American Association of Poison Control.
According to statistics from the French Poison Control Centre, there were seven times more cases of exposure to toxic chemicals recorded between April and August 2020 than those reported in the same timeframe a year ago.
In the same span, since hand sanitiser droplets reached their eyes, 16 children were admitted to a pediatric ophthalmology hospital in Paris, compared to only one boy in 2019. Surgery to transplant tissue into their corneas was necessary in two serious cases. However, the respite here is that in most cases, the consequences were moderate, which included mostly eye pain, irritation, tingling or swelling etc.
The worrying part though there have been reports of severe cases as well. An inflammatory issue which harms the cases have been observed and many children were diagnosed with corneal lesions.
To deter the problem, keep dispensers away from kids and always keep them close to you when out in public spaces. It would also help if they wore eyeglasses when they venture out in public spaces with automated sanitisers set up. Make sure they have their protective eyewear all the time. If your kid is quite young, it is best and safe to disinfect their hands yourself with Hand Sanitizers instead of letting them on their own.