Alcohol exposure in preterm infants in neonatal isolettes
Braun, Rebecca Marie
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Preterm infants admitted to the NICU may spend up to 12 weeks in isolettes (incubators with controlled air temperature and humidity). Infants receive frequent contact with health-care professionals who use alcohol-based hygiene products. Ethanol is a known developmental neurotoxicant, and inhalation may have long-term effects on infant neurodevelopment. This study assessed alcohol concentration in isolette air after inserting hands cleaned with hand sanitizer, and effects of longer hand rubbing before insertion into the isolette. Each exposure consisted of two squirts (1.5 ± 0.1mL) of hand sanitizer, and hands rubbed for 10 or 20 seconds before insertion into isolettes. Air samples were collected by photoionization detector and breathalyzer. Average ethanol peaks were 387.04ppm (10s) and 104.36ppm (20s). Ethanol levels peaked within 1min, dissipated within 5min, and returned to background within 15 - 20min. Alcohol exposure from ethanol based hand sanitizer may be decreased significantly with longer duration of hand rubbing.