The DHS said that the number of calls to poison centers related to possible toxic exposures to alcohol from hand sanitizers has increased since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ingestion of some sanitizers could cause blindness or death, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Certain hand sanitizers have tested positive for containing methanol, or wood alcohol. According to the DHS, it can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and sometimes even life-threatening.
The New Mexico Poison Control reported three deaths and a case of blindness due to the ingestion of methanol contaminated hand sanitzers.
"Hand sanitizer is great to use when soap and water aren't available, but frequent, thorough handwashing is the best way to prevent spreading viruses like COVID-19," said Stephanie Smiley, interim State Health Officer. "If you must use hand sanitizer, be sure to avoid any products on the The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) list of hand sanitizers that have been recalled.”
The DHS said that even a small amount accidentally ingested could be dangerous. Some symptoms to be aware of are nausea, vomiting, headache, and blurred vision among others.
Also, most hand sanitizers have a stronger concentration of ethyl alcohol than most hard liquors. That is why it's important to keep these hand sanitizers away from children.
If you are experiencing any issues call the Poison Center right away at (800) 222-1222.