Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help keep you safe and reduce the spread of germs if soap and water aren't available. It's also effective against the novel coronavirus. To make your own, you only need a few key ingredients: rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel, and an essential oil (or lemon juice).
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced recalls of several hand sanitizers due to the potential presence of methanol.
Methanol is a toxic alcohol that can have adverse effects, such as nausea, vomiting, or headache, when a significant amount is used on the skin. More serious effects, such as blindness, seizures, or damage to the nervous system, can occur if methanol is ingested. Drinking hand sanitizer containing methanol, either accidentally or purposely, can be fatal. See here for more information on how to spot safe hand sanitizers.
If you purchased any hand sanitizer containing methanol, you should stop using it immediately. Return it to the store where you purchased it, if possible. If you experienced any adverse effects from using it, you should call your healthcare provider. If your symptoms are life threatening, call emergency medical services immediately.
When it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, nothing beats good old-fashioned handwashing.
But if water and soap aren’t available, your next best option, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Unless you have a stockpile of store-bought hand sanitizer, you’ll likely have a hard time finding any at a store or online right now. Due to the rapid spread of the new coronavirus, most retailers can’t keep up with the demand for hand sanitizer.
The good news? All it takes is three ingredients to make your own hand sanitizer at home. Read on to find out how.
Hand sanitizer recipes, including the one below, are intended for use by professionals with the necessary expertise and resources for safe creation and proper utilization.
Only use homemade hand sanitizers in extreme situations when handwashing isn’t available for the foreseeable future.
Don’t use homemade hand sanitizers on children’s skin as they may be more prone to use them improperly, leading to a greater risk of injury.
Jagdish Khubchandani, PhD, associate professor of health science at Ball State University, shared this hand sanitizing formula.
His hand sanitizer formula combines:
If you’re making hand sanitizer at home, Khubchandani says to adhere to these tips:
For a larger batch of hand sanitizer, the World Health Organization (WHO) has a formula for a hand sanitizer that uses:
DIY hand sanitizer recipes are all over the internet these days — but are they safe?
These recipes, including the ones above, are intended for use by professionals with both the expertise and resources to safely make homemade hand sanitizers.
Homemade hand sanitizer is only recommended in extreme situations when you’re unable to wash your hands for the foreseeable future.
Improper ingredients or proportions can lead to:
Homemade hand sanitizer is also not recommended for children. Children may be more prone to improper hand sanitizer usage, which could lead to greater risk of injury.
Two things to be aware of when using hand sanitizer:
With that in mind, here are some tips for using hand sanitizer effectively.
According to the CDC, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that meets the alcohol volume requirement can quickly reduce the number of microbes on your hands.
It can also help destroy a wide range of disease-causing agents or pathogens on your hands, including the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
However, even the best alcohol-based hand sanitizers have limitations and don’t eliminate all types of germs.
According to the CDC, hand sanitizers won’t get rid of potentially harmful chemicals. It’s also not effective at killing the following germs:
Also, a hand sanitizer may not work well if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. This may happen after working with food, doing yard work, gardening, or playing a sport.
If your hands look dirty or slimy, opt for handwashing instead of a hand sanitizer.
Knowing when it’s best to wash your hands, and when hand sanitizers can be helpful, is key to protecting yourself from the new coronavirus as well as other illnesses, like the common cold and seasonal flu.
While both serve a purpose, washing your hands with soap and water should always be a priority, according to the CDC. Only use hand sanitizer if soap and water isn’t available in a given situation.
It’s also important to always wash your hands:
The CDC lists specific instructions on the most effective way to wash your hands. They recommend the following steps:
Hand sanitizer is a handy on-the-go way to help prevent the spread of germs when soap and water isn’t available. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help keep you safe and reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.
If you’re having a hard time finding hand sanitizer at your local stores and handwashing isn’t available, you can take steps to make your own. You only need a few ingredients, such as rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel, and an essential oil or lemon juice.
Although hand sanitizers can be an effective way of getting rid of germs, health authorities still recommend handwashing whenever possible to keep your hands free of disease-causing viruses and other germs.
Read this article in Spanish.