Friday, October 9, 2009

Huffing Purel?

The local school board spokesperson here had actually brought up concerns with alcohol-based hand sanitizers prior to the start of classes this year when I was speaking with him in regards to flu prevention. Today, CBC in BC posted this story, in regards to the concerns over the use of these alcohol-laden products in schools. The local board had an American advisory on the products as part of its H1N1 page, but it's been replaced by a Ministry of Health and Long-term Care memo that only briefly states schools should consult fire departments over sanitizer placement.
From the piece:
Lacey Butler is one parent who learned of the risks firsthand when her four-year-old daughter Halle was given a squirt of hand sanitizer with an attractive fruit scent by a teacher at school.
CBC News tracked down Butler in Oklahoma, after her email warning to parents became an internet hit of its own.
Butler's daughter actually got sick two years ago, but the recent surge in use of hand sanitizers in schools turned her old message into an internet hit once again in recent weeks.
"The teacher says she went around to all students and squirted one squirt into each students hand," said Butler.
But rather than rub it on her hands, Halle licked and swallowed the gel, likely because it smelled of fruit.
"It was like someone her size drinking something like 120 proof [alcohol]," said Butler.
Halle became lethargic and incoherent, and at first nobody could figure out what was wrong with her, and she was rushed to hospital by her father.
It also touches on high school students ingesting the stuff-- imagine, getting wasted for free in the local high school bathroom. Of course, kids being kids... they also set the stuff, which can contain up to 60 per cent alcohol, on fire.
Is there not a common-sense solution to this? Really? Proper hand washing with warm water and soap is undeniably the best way to reduce any hand-to-hand transmission of bacteria and viruses. Sanitizers should be used only when and where there is no access to a sink.
While it's not every school that has a sink in its classrooms, these hand washing routines can be built into the routine-- IE: before lunch or snack breaks, troop every student past the sink or nearest washroom to wash their hands. Ditto for when they return from recess.


Anonymous said...

what next?

I remember at our high school when it was found out that the school nurse(remember those all you old farts?) gave kids codeine cough medicine to kids with coughs. It was easy to fake a cough to get a dose.

I also remember hearing of kids getting high on nutmeg.

What about when it was the trend for kids to do sculpting with asbestos powder??? Our works of art would be set on the heat registers to dry. I remember doing asbestos crafts three years in a row. Mixing the powder with our hands when hot water was poured the powder which the teacher dispensed by scoopfuls onto the desk.

Every generation has its alcohol based sanitizer I guess.