During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, as false health information spread on social media, the number of children and teens poisoned with hand sanitizer or alcoholic beverages surged in Iran. These poisonings resulted in hundreds of hospitalizations and 22 deaths. Misinformation circulating on social media included the false suggestion that consuming alcohol (methanol) or hand sanitizer (ethanol or isopropyl alcohol) protected against COVID-19 infection (it does not). A major alcohol poisoning outbreak sickened nearly 6,000 Iranian adults, of whom 800 died. It was not known, however, to what extent children and adolescents were affected. For the study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, investigators compared pediatric hospitalizations for ethanol and methanol poisoning during the early COVID-19 pandemic in Iran with the same period the previous year. They also looked at types of exposure and how those were linked to the children’s ages and clinical outcomes.
In a study published today in Scientific Reports, a Nature Research Journal, a team of researchers led by Dr. Joseph Fisher presents a proof of concept of a simple method that could become a game-changer in rescue therapy for severe alcohol intoxication, as well as just “sobering up.”
Every day nearly 200 people die from an overdose of drugs or from alcohol poisoning, with opioids responsible for the majority. Recognizing the signs and knowing how to respond to medical emergencies, including carrying and administering naloxone in cases of opioid overdose, can save lives says the ASA.