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Swedish nurse suffers burns after hand gel rub

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Swedish nurse suffers burns after hand gel rub
11:06 CEST+02:00
A nurse at an eldercare home in Norrbotten in northern Sweden was left with burns to her left hand as residual traces of an alcohol-based hand disinfectant caught fire while pushing a trolley.

One theory being entertained for the unfortunate incident is that the static electricity generated by the nurse in touching the metal trolley caused sparks to fly and the disinfectant to burn.

"I have never heard of anything like this," Åsa Sjöström at the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) to local newspaper, Norrlänska Socialdemokraten.

The nurse, who is employed at an eldercare home in Vittangi in Kiruna in the far north of Sweden, escaped from her ordeal with only minor burns to her left hand.

The nurse was able to extinguish the fire herself with the help of her jeans waistcoat.

Before the alcohol based disinfectant began burning in a blue flame over her hand, the nurse had stroked a dog and received a visit from a patient bearing synthetic trousers.

These are the factors supporting the theory that static electricity caused the disinfectant to set alight.

"This is what we think after our layman's assessment of the incident. Our security staff and the nurse in charge of medical issues will continue the investigation," said Per-Erik Baas at Kiruna county council.

The council has reported the matter to the Work Environment Authority and has also contacted the manufacturer of the product, Lehaga Kemi AB in Helsingborg.

The product is on sale at state pharmacy Apoteket and is considered one of the more effective weapons in the fight against the spread of swine flu.

Neither Apoteket nor Lehaga Kemi have ever heard of any similar incident involving the disinfectant.

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