‘Growing safety issue’: FDA issues warning about hand sanitizers

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Hand sanitizer (Getty Images)

(WJW) – The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about all alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

People are getting it in their eyes “from splashing or touching,” and it’s causing severe irritation and damage to the surface of the eye. The FDA says though all ages have been affected, most cases have been seen in children.

The U.S. Poison Control Center reports it has received over 3,600 cases from January 2018 to April 2021.

The Drug Facts label states that the product should not be used near the eyes.

If alcohol does accidentally splash into the eye, the FDA says to rinse it immediately.

The FDA also recommends that when using sanitizer, you should rub your hands until they’re completely dry.

The FDA reports exposure in children 5 and under happened most frequently at home in the cases reported to poison control.

The FDA says it does not plan on making changes to the Drug Facts label but wanted to alert parents to the “growing safety issue.”

The use of hand sanitizers, which help reduce bacteria on the hands, has increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the most effective way to prevent the spread of infections and decrease the risk of getting sick is by washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

“Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others,” the CDC stated.

When soap and water are unavailable, the CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

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