On Wednesday, the CDC again reminded the public of the dangers of utilizing any sort of methanol-containing hand sanitizer in an extended report shared to its website. The agency also shared a more general warning on the topic of sanitizer ingestion, which—bafflingly—is indeed something that has happened.
"Do not swallow any hand sanitizer," the CDC advised.
While consuming hand sanitizer of any variety is not something one should do under any circumstances, such behavior is of particular concern when it comes to sanitizers containing methanol.
"Alcohol-based hand sanitizer products should never be ingested," the CDC said in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) update. "In patients with compatible signs and symptoms or after having swallowed hand sanitizer, prompt evaluation for methanol poisoning is required. Health departments in all states should coordinate with poison centers to identify cases of methanol poisoning."
Methanol poisoning, the report adds, is no laughing matter. Between May 1 and June 30, the CDC has confirmed at least 15 cases of methanol poisoning in Arizona and New Mexico that came about via the ingestion of hand sanitizer. Four of those patients ultimately died, while three were reported to have sustained visual impairment.
Depressingly, if we're still at a point of having to remind people that doing shit like ingesting hand sanitizer is a very bad idea, then the back half of 2020 isn't looking to be any better than the first.