Recently, health authorities such as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have noted that there is a rising number of cases of toxin exposure in people due to the use of hand sanitizers and certain disinfectants.
The concern spread quickly after the case of a woman getting poising from her own kitchen sink because of using the combination of vinegar, hot water, and bleach was reported to the health authorities.
In addition, there have also been reported of accidental ingestion of hand sanitizers by children and toddlers which have led to immediate hospitalization as they are toxic and can cause serious issues if immediate medical attention is not sought.
Therefore, the CDC has specifically given instructions on how to use hand sanitizers and disinfectants in a proper manner so that they are not harmful
For instance, for disinfecting homes, while the health experts have suggested that the step is fundamental in keeping not only COVID-19 but all kinds of viruses and pathogens away, it is equally important to use the right disinfectants.
One of the most commonly used disinfectants is bleach which is also known to be extremely harmful to health. This is why experts usually advise to use it with caution and in a very little and controlled amount.
In order to use the right disinfectants which are also not harmful, the Environmental Protection Agency has released a list of disinfectants that can safeguard from COVID-19 but are also not likely to cause poisoning.
On the other hand, while switching disinfectants is easy and can significantly cut down the risk of exposure to toxins, using and keeping hand sanitizers safely especially around children can be difficult for parents with very young children or toddlers.
According to the latest research on hand sanitizers, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective in protecting from COVID-19. More specifically, only the sanitizers with an alcohol content of sixty percent and above are recommended and can kill the coronavirus.
In addition, it should also be noted that using hand sanitizers in a proper way is also required for them to work. For example, studies have shown that dry or dirty hands can be sanitizer ineffective.
This is because hand sanitizers are not able to clean certain types of chemicals on the hands including pesticides or are not able to work properly with a layer of grease on the hands.
If the hands are visibly dry or flaky, there is a higher risk of having a burning sensation or discomfort due to the alcohol content in the hand sanitizer. Problems such as these can be resolved with little effort.
People with dry hands can effectively use hand sanitizers given that they also add a moisturizer in their routine which may help with healing the damaged skin. Greasy hands or visibly dirty hands should be washed directly with soap and water.
Another important step to keep in mind with hand sanitizers is familiarizing children with their use and the correct method to follow when using them. This can help in cutting down the risk of alcohol poisoning due to the ingestion of the sanitizer.
The U.S. poison control centers have received numerous calls regarding children ingesting alcohol-based hand sanitizers till now. The rise in the use of sanitizers due to the COVID-19 can increase the risk of ingestion even further.
Therefore, hand sanitizers can be either kept away at safe places that are out of the reach of children or the children can be told about their dangers. Another way to do so is by using child-resistant caps on sanitizers.
Lastly, avoid using homemade hand sanitizer recipes as they often contain a higher than the recommended amount of alcohol which may cause poisoning or even burns on the hands.