Consumption of alcohol-based hand sanitisers by hospital inpatients

Lachlan M Batty, Anna J Brischetto, Ajay C Kevat and Michael J Oldmeadow
Med J Aust 2011; 194 (12): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2011.tb03160.x
Published online: 20 June 2011

To the Editor: The association between poor hand hygiene of health care workers and nosocomial infection is well established.1 The National Hand Hygiene Initiative2 has been established to improve hand hygiene among health care workers, and the use of ethanol- or isopropanol-based hand sanitisers has been widely adopted in the hospital setting. To encourage their use by health care workers, many hospitals have undertaken extensive education programs and made hand sanitisers with high alcohol content readily available at all points of patient care. An unanticipated but potentially adverse outcome of this campaign is the intentional consumption of hand sanitisers by patients.

  • The Alfred, Melbourne, VIC.


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  • 3. Ego Pharmaceuticals. Material safety data sheet for Aqium gel. (accessed Apr 2011).
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  • 5. Thanarajasingam G, Diedrich DA, Mueller PS. Intentional ingestion of ethanol-based hand sanitizer by a hospitalized patient with alcoholism. Mayo Clin Proc 2007; 82: 1288-1289.
  • 6. Weiner SG. Changing dispensers may prevent intoxication from isopropanol and ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Ann Emerg Med 2007; 50: 486.


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