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Intentional Ingestion of Ethanol-Based Hand Sanitizer by a Hospitalized Patient With Alcoholism

      To the Editor: Alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing 60% to 95% ethanol or isopropanol are ubiquitous in the health care setting. These preparations prevent pathogen transmission more effectively than hand washing. As such, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations endorse use of these agents to decontaminate hands that are not visibly soiled.
      • Boyce JM
      • Pittet D
      Guideline for hand hygiene in health-care settings: recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force.
      • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
      Nevertheless, the presence of these agents in hospitals may create some hazards. Herein, we report a case of ingestion of ethanol-based hand sanitizer in a patient with alcoholism who was hospitalized for isopropanol intoxication.
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      REFERENCES

        • Boyce JM
        • Pittet D
        Guideline for hand hygiene in health-care settings: recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force.
        MMWR Recomm Rep. 2002; 51: 1-45
        • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
        2007 Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals: The Official Handbook (CAMH). The Joint Commission, Oakbrook Terrace, IL2007
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        (Accessed September 6, 2007.)
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        Intoxication of a prison inmate with an ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer [letter].
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        Intoxication of a hospitalized patient with an isopropanol-based hand sanitizer [letter].
        N Engl J Med. 2007; 356: 530-531
      1. Chicago Tribune Web edition. Getting drunk off hand sanitizers.
        (Accessed September 6, 2007.)