On the way home from a visit to a friend in Harborview Hospital today, I nearly collapsed. We had just stepped into the hospital elevator when I was overcome with exhaustion. I could barely walk to the car. Fortunately, Tom was driving. I was so sleepy I was having trouble understanding what he was saying. When we got home, the thought of anything resembling dinner made me want to gag. I had a glass of grapefruit juice and stumbled upstairs to go to bed. At 7 p.m.
In the course of preparing for bed, I washed my hands. It was as if I'd knocked back a double espresso. I suddenly felt fine; not sleepy at all.
And I got to thinking. One of the reasons I'd washed my hands was that I was bothered by the cloying scent of the Purell hand sanitizer I'd rubbed on my hands at the hospital — about 15 seconds before I stepped into the elevator and nearly collapsed.
I Googled "Purell reactions" and discovered there are a few other people who have reported experiencing extreme drowsiness, lethargy, and lack of appetite as a result of using Purell. Who'd have imagined it? The motion-sensor machine dispensed a squirt of it, so it wasn't as though I'd used the wrong dosage by accident.
Fortunately, I don't work in a healthcare environment, or a school, so I haven't had been required to have much experience with Purell hand sanitizer. I carry another alcohol-based hand sanitizer with me and, while it may not have as broad a spectrum of effectiveness against viruses as Purell, at least it doesn't put me to sleep.