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Hospital patients 'drinking' alcohol-based hand gels

THE introduction of alcohol-based hand gels to tackle hospital superbugs has had an unwanted side-effect - patients consuming them.

Researchers writing in the British Medical Journal have revealed that inquiries about the consumption of alcohol gels to a London poisons unit increased sharply after they were widely introduced in hospitals across the UK in 2005.

They found that people were either consuming them by mistake or because they were in a confused state.

But often they were being used by alcoholics to ease their cravings.

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