The study authors used data from the National Poisoning Database and the Children’s Ophthalmology Hospital in Paris between April and August 2020. During this time, poison control centers in France received 232 calls in connection with eye trauma in children due to antiseptics. This is seven times more than in the same period in 2019.
Hospitalization and surgery were required for 13% of victims, while in 2019 only one child with such injuries was in the hospital. In two cases, transplantation of the amniotic membrane of the eye was required, experts said.
It is noteworthy that the share of such requests increased with each month of the pandemic, and all these incidents occurred in public places: in shopping centers, restaurants and cinemas. According to experts, this is due to the strengthening of preventive measures in the country, when, by order of the health services, containers with antiseptic agents began to be installed everywhere. Typically, they are placed 1-1.5 meters above the floor to minimize the likelihood of eye contact when handling hands. But these standards are designed for adults, and for children they pose a direct threat of injury. The child presses the dispenser, and small drops of gel or liquid easily fall on the eye.
Ophthalmologists have called on health authorities to ensure safety measures when using disinfectants. In particular, parents should be warned of these risks and help children handle their hands. In addition, routine hand washing with soap and water can alleviate these problems, doctors say.
Earlier, experts from Brigham Young University suggested using non-alcoholic antiseptics for disinfection, which are much safer and do not cause dryness and flaking of the skin. Such funds reliably neutralize influenza and herpes viruses and have bactericidal and antifungal properties. In the course of several experiments, scientists have proven that products containing benzalkonium chloride can also neutralize SARS-Cov-2.
“Benzalkonium chloride can be used at much lower concentrations and does not cause the“ burn ”sensation that often occurs with alcohol-based products. Their use could make life easier for people who often have to disinfect their hands, for example, medical workers, ”the study authors write.