Health Experts Urge People to Avoid Making Homemade Hand Sanitizer Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak
As people continue to prepare for the potential spread of the coronavirus, health products are flying off of store shelves and online pharmacies, according to CNN. Which product are most consumers itching to get their hands on? Hand sanitizer. The in-demand item is largely out of stock at retailers, and the inability to find the anti-bacterial product in stores is causing customers to resort to making the product on their own. However, health experts are strongly advising everyone against making a do-it-yourself form of sanitizer. "I worry about people making their own sanitizer as it will be difficult to make sure that the concentrations are correct," Daniel Parker, assistant professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine, said.
Homemade hand sanitizer has been trending online, and there are various tutorials and step-by-step guides on how to make the product at home. Even so, they're not foolproof. In order to be an effective disinfectant, hand sanitizer needs to be made of at least 60 percent alcohol, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, and it could be ineffective or dangerous if not made this way.
In addition to the ingredients that manufacturers put in their hand sanitizers to help kill germs, these products also contain protectants that help protect a consumer's skin from the harsh impacts of the alcohol. If you don't have the necessary emollients that are found in the products sold in a store, you could put yourself at risk of damaging your skin, Sally Bloomfield, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told The Guardian.
If you can't get your hands on commercially-made sanitizer, you're not out of luck. No matter what, the best way to avoid the spread of disease is to properly wash your hands. Running your hands under water and cleaning them thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds will help prevent any transfer of the coronavirus, Parker said. If sanitizer is your only option (and you have a few bottles of the real stuff), keep this tip from the CDC in mind: Cover both of your hands with the sterilizer, especially between fingers and nails.