A Texas mother was left with severe burns this week after the hand sanitizer on her skin reportedly caught fire and exploded while she was in the process of lighting a candle.
“Everywhere I had hand sanitizer on my hand, it just lit my hand with fire,” Kate Wise said, according to the New York Post. “It obviously went all over my face. And, in like a matter of five seconds, my whole body was just consumed in flames.”
She added that the nearby bottle also exploded when the flames spread. The mother went on to say that despite the burns, she was able to remove her burning clothes and get her disabled daughter and pets out of her Round Rock, Texas, home while her two youngest daughters ran to a neighbor’s house to get help.
Wise was still recovering in an intensive care unit as of Thursday. Experts are now speaking out to warn that hand sanitizers are highly flammable because they contain alcohol, which is why bottles typically have a warning that says to keep the product away from flames or fire.
Coming up at 6– Hear from a #RoundRock woman near #Austin as she recovers in the ICU. Kate says the hand sanitizer she had put on caught fire while trying to light a candle. It left her with severe burns. #KHOU11 pic.twitter.com/BknOZEta1E
— David Gonzalez (@DavidGonzKHOU) September 3, 2020
Jennifer L. Rose, consultation director of the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Program at the state’s Department of Labor and Industry, told Safety and Health magazine that hand sanitizer users are better off “waiting to let the sanitizer fully absorb into the skin or evaporate” before any close contact with flames.
“Isopropyl alcohol is highly flammable and can easily ignite,” she said. “Vapors may form explosive mixtures with air, traveling to a source of ignition and flashback. It is not really the liquid burning – it is the vapors that catch fire.”
Wise is now hoping to raise awareness so that others don’t end up in her situation.
“It’s something that you never want your kids to see,” Wise said. “Like, you just being up in flames so I think that part kind of killed me just because it’s something I never wanted them to have to go through.”
A friend of Wise’s has since warned the public against buying off-brand hand sanitizers.
“We’re all buying what’s easily available,” the friend said. “We look to stores we trust like Amazon to purchase the products that we need to protect ourselves and our families.”