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What should I look for in a hand sanitizer?

Sep 8, 2020, 6:04 AM
hand sanitizer...
AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin;

What should I look for in a hand sanitizer?

Pick one that contains mostly alcohol, and has few other ingredients.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hand sanitizers should be at least 60% ethyl alcohol or 70% isopropyl alcohol. Other approved ingredients may include sterile distilled water, hydrogen peroxide and glycerin, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

You should avoid anything with methanol or 1-propanol, both of which can be highly toxic. The FDA also warns people to watch out for hand sanitizers packaged in food and drink containers, since accidentally ingesting them could be dangerous.

Health officials also say to avoid hand sanitizers that replace alcohol with benzalkonium chloride, which is less effective at killing certain bacteria and viruses. Making your own sanitizers isn’t encouraged either; the wrong mix of chemicals can be ineffective or cause skin burns.

And you should only use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, says Barun Mathema, an infectious disease researcher at Columbia University. Hand washing is better at removing more germs.

____

The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org.

More Viral Questions:

Can I get COVID-19 through my eyes or ears?

Can I use a face shield instead of a mask?

Can mosquitoes spread the coronavirus?


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

 

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What should I look for in a hand sanitizer?