Skip to site content

Adverse Events from Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has released a drug safety communication today, warning of reports of side effects after applying alcohol-based hand sanitizers on their skin. Reported side effects may include: headache, nausea, and dizziness. These effects are likely related to inhalation of vapors from the hand sanitizers when used in enclosed spaces or places with poor air circulation.

The use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers has increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water are not available. The FDA and poison control centers have received reports of adverse events from skin and inhalation exposure to alcohol-based hand sanitizers. While most cases are minor, some may be serious or require treatment by a health care provider.

Before using hand sanitizers, check the FDA’s do-not-use list of hand sanitizers Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving , which identifies products that may contain harmful ingredients or contaminants. If patients experience side effects from hand sanitizer or if someone ingests it contact poison control at 1-800-222-1222 or get help online Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving .

The complete Drug Safety Communication can be viewed on the FDA website.Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving