“Everywhere I had hand sanitizer on my hand, it just lit my hand with fire,” Kate Wise told KHOU-TV in Houston. “It obviously went all over my face. And, in like a matter of five seconds, my whole body was just consumed in flames.”
The nearby bottle also exploded when the flames spread, she said.
Wise said 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 the neighbors’ for help, the station reported.
As of Thursday, she was still recovering in a hospital’s intensive care unit.
The Round Rock Fire Department is investigating.
Experts warn that hand sanitizers, many of which contain alcohol, can be flammable and bottles usually have a warning that says to keep the product away from flames or fire.
Users of the product are better off “waiting to let the sanitizer fully absorb into the skin or evaporate” before any close contact with flames, Jennifer L. Rose, consultation director of the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Program at the state’s Department of Labor and Industry, recommends, according to Safety and Health magazine.
“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.”