THE government of Spain has launched a campaign aimed at children and parents to warn of the dangers of poisoning from hydroalcoholic gels.

The scheme comes as figures from the Toxicological Information Service (SIT) reveal that health services have recorded a monumental rise in cases since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Spain.

According to figures, the number of enquiries to medical centres across the country have risen 900% since March 2020.

In 2019, 90 cases were recorded of symptoms related to ingestion of poisoning from alcohol gels.

However since the start of the pandemic, 874 cases have been recorded so far, with the majority affecting those under two years of age.

Government officials representing the Ministry of Health have warned parents that these figures will continue to rise if precautions are not taken.

According to the records, most of the cases were mild symptoms such as red eyes, skin irritations and blurred vision, as well as effects associated with ingestion such as vomiting, stomach issues and diarrhea.

Of the cases, 84% were from oral ingestion, with 7% through the eyes and 3% from inhalation.

Minister Juan Carlos Campo has issued a message to parents to follow some simple guidelines to avoid unnecessary harm caused by misuse of hand sanitizers.

Campo has advised that gels are to be used no more than 10 times in a 24 hour period on minors, and that gels without a perfume smell are preferable.

He also asked of constant monitoring of small children when using gels and to not leave children unattended around cleaning products.

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