Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Hand washing

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 13 March 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:686

Rapid Response:

Danger of alcohol gel in the stomach

With regard to Paul Miller's rapid response to an eight-year-old article on handwashing, I'd advise him to perform a more comprehensive search of his topic. Several hospitals have removed wall-mounted alcohol hand rub, not because of the possibility of it squirting into someone's eye, but because patients (and occasionally visitors) have a tendency to drink it. Drinking isopropyl alcohol is unadvisable.

The trend is towards portable, personal bottles of alcohol gel. These incorporate a spray head dispenser to prevent contamination of the nozzle-end, thus eliminating the squirting-into-the-eye problem Paul describes.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 March 2007
Emma Stapleton
Clinical Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh
Lauriston Building, Edinburgh EH3 9DU