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Things to know before buying hand sanitizer

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has caused widespread fear, forcing people to take practical steps to stay safe. Among these is the relentless use of hand sanitizers, which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is a suitable way to keep away viruses and maintain personal hygiene. There has already been so much talk about hand sanitizers around the world.

FDA-warned-not-use methanol-containing-hand-sanitizers
Figure: FDA has warned people not to use methanol-containing hand sanitizers. Courtesy: Collected

It is suggested to wash hand thoroughly with soap and water before and after meals, while caring for a sick person, while touching surfaces that may be contaminated, after playing with pets, etc. However, if washing is not possible, we need to use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, to avoid the risk of getting sick and spreading the infection to others.

There are also some pretty worrying stuffs regarding hand sanitizers. Recently, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned people not to use methanol-containing hand sanitizers. Ongoing FDA tests found methanol contamination of 1% to 80% in hand sanitizer products.

The FDA says these methanol-containing hand sanitizer increasing the risk of blindness, cardiac effects, effects on the central nervous system, and deaths with hospitalization.

So, before we buy hand sanitizers, we need to understand a few things.

One of them is that alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on the hands, it cannot eliminate all kinds of germs. Look for a formulation of least 60 percent alcohol in these products. According to the WHO, the formula should contain 80 percent ethanol or 75 percent isopropyl alcohol. If it contains methanol percentage, you should probably reconsider it.

Most hand sanitizers have an expiration date when they contain alcohol. You need to store the products and use them well because the alcohol becomes volatile, gradually evaporating over time. This means that the sanitizer will lose its ability to survive infection and fight bacteria, viruses and other germs.

Alcohol-free antiseptics such as antimicrobial agents or benzalkonium chloride serve well to destroy microorganisms and contain specific balsam that soften your skin and give off a great odor.

Choose the right sanitizer according to your skin type. Pick a hand sanitizer that should be gentle on your skin and will not irritate any skin inflammation. Note that people with sensitive skin should check ingredients before purchase.

At the end of the day, it’s really hard to know what the concoction is in your hand sanitizer. Look for trusted brands and choose a sanitizer with an authentic formula that is safe for you and your people.

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