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Flame Meets Hand Sanitizer, Sending Woman to ICU

Kate Wise of Texas recounts her story
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2020 9:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Not only should you not consume hand sanitizer, you should avoid open flames immediately after putting some on your hands—as a Texas woman learned the hard way. Kate Wise of Round Rock is recovering in the ICU after suffering burns to her entire body. She says she was trying to light sage after using hand sanitizer on Sunday when the flame "lit my whole hand on fire," per CBS Austin. That was just the start. Wise believes the flame then spread to a nearby bottle of rubbing alcohol, which exploded. "It obviously went all over my face. In a matter of, like, five seconds, my whole body was just consumed in flames," she tells KHOU. Wise was able to rip off her burning clothes and get herself, her disabled daughter, and her pets outside.

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Two daughters had already run to a neighbor for help. Wise was left with second- and third-degree burns, plus damaged corneas, and now requires major reconstructive surgery, reports Newsweek. The single mother also lost her home and "her kids are traumatized," a friend writes on a GoFundMe page that has raised $2,100 as of this writing. A CBS News report on the story includes a quote from a retired firefighter, who warns that hand sanitizer can explode even under direct sunlight, such as in a car. It was first published by CBS Dallas in May. However, the claim has been debunked. As the Pointer Institute reported, the temperature inside a vehicle would need to reach almost 600 degrees in order for hand sanitizer to combust. The temperature in a vehicle parked outside in the heat of summer is believed to max out at around 160 degrees. (Read more hand sanitizer stories.)

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