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Published:May 27th, 2011 09:24 EST
Can Hand Sanitizers Make You Drunk?

Can Hand Sanitizers Make You Drunk?

By Donna Cavanagh

My husband and I took off for the beach. However, a sea of fog descended and made it impossible to see the water.  So, we decided to take a short trip to Atlantic City and hit the casinos until the fog lifted.  I was minding my business playing video poker when an elderly gentleman stood at the machine beside me.  Before he got down to the gambling, he took out hand sanitizer and put it on a cloth and wiped the machine completely down. After he finished, with the machine, he applied the same sanitizer to the seat.  Upon completing his cleaning ritual, he walked over to a trash bin and threw the cloth away. He came back to his machine, poured more hand sanitizer onto his palms and rubbed them together.

At one time, I would have thought this man`s actions over-the-top, but since the virulent flu strains came on the scene a few years ago, germs have been public enemy number one for so many people. The hand sanitizer dispensers are everywhere from shopping malls to hospitals to grocery stores.  I even saw dispensers hanging in the back of a church.  I may be old fashioned, but I like a church that says, "You are free to worship here," not  "Feel free to pray with us as long as you are germ free."

I admit that I am not a big germaphobe. I am a believer in frequent hand washing and covering my nose and mouth for a cough or sneeze, and I do carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse-- oh, and I use a paper towel to grab the handle of the ladies room door upon exiting. Hm, now that I think about it, I might be a tad germaphobic, but I don`t wipe down my video poker machine. That goes too far.

Of course, since I saw that man wipe down his machine, I started to feel a little sick and achy. I think I might be coming down with something that I caught from my video poker machine. It`s probably some kind of rare disease for which there is no antibiotic, and I will lapse into a coma and die and at my funeral people will whisper,

"If only she used the hand sanitizer, she would be alive today. "

Yes, there is a chance that I have allowed my imagination to wander. Anyway, do you know that too much hand sanitizer might come back to bite you?  Yes, it`s true.  According to a new study, those who obsess over using hand sanitizing products might be making themselves drunk.  Apparently, this study, conducted at the University of Florida -- you know the ex-home of mega-Christian Tim Tebow, found that the hand-sanitizer-crazy-people  can test positive for alcohol consumption in some tests  even if they have not consumed any alcoholic beverages.

Okay, no panicking.  The hand-sanitizer alcohol jump won`t show up in breathalyzer tests or even blood tests that measure recent consumption of alcohol, so Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan or even Mel Gibson probably can`t claim hand sanitizing practices for their run-ins with the law, but those who use hand sanitizers a lot during the day, could register false positives in urine tests which can detect alcohol use for up to five days.

So, I guess if one is going on a job interview, which requires testing for alcohol and drug use, one shouldn`t go crazy with the hand sanitizer products for a few days before the interview. The reason for the false positive is that these products are made with ethanol, and the ethanol in the hand sanitizer does get absorbed into the body.

So, remember this.  Wash your hands regularly, but if there is a chance that you will be going somewhere, where you will be required to hand over your pee, take a break from the hand sanitizer a few days before the event.  Hey, I am not judging anyone`s private life, but what goes in your body must come out, and if you don`t want a high alcohol reading, maybe you should leave the Purell at home.