Last Updated on May 24, 2021 by The Health Master
FAQs on Hand Sanitizers by USFDA
The FDA is working with U.S. government partners including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), medical product manufacturers, and international partners to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.
Q. Is hand sanitizer effective against COVID-19?
A. The best way to prevent the spread of infections and decrease the risk of getting sick is by washing your hands with plain soap and water, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is essential, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose. If soap and water are not available, CDC recommends consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Q. Should I be using antibacterial soap to wash my hands?
A. The best way to prevent the spread of infections and decrease the risk of getting sick is by washing your hands with plain soap and water, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is essential, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose.
There is currently no evidence that consumer antiseptic wash products (also known as antibacterial soaps) are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients could do more harm than good in the long-term and more research is needed.
Also read: FAQs about Coronavirus
Q. Where can I buy hand sanitizer? If I can’t find it in the store, can I make my own?
A. Many retail stores and pharmacies sell hand sanitizers. However, we understand that many stores have run out of hand sanitizers and they may be difficult to find. To help increase the availability of hand sanitizers, FDA has issued guidance for the temporary preparation of alcohol-based hand sanitizers by some companies and pharmacies during the public health emergency posed by COVID-19.
FDA recommends that consumers do not make their own hand sanitizer. If made incorrectly, hand sanitizer can be ineffective, and there have been reports of skin burns from homemade hand sanitizer. The agency lacks verifiable information on the methods being used to prepare hand sanitizer at home and whether they are safe for use on human skin.
Q. What do I do if I get a rash or other reaction to hand sanitizer?
A. Call your doctor if you experience a serious reaction to hand sanitizer. FDA encourages consumers and health care professionals to report adverse events experienced with the use of hand sanitizers to FDA.
Q. Many surface cleaners and disinfectants say they can be used against SARS-CoV-2. What does this mean? Can I use these products on my hands or body to prevent or treat the virus?
A. Always follow the instructions on household cleaners. Do not use disinfectant sprays or wipes on your skin because they may cause skin and eye irritation. Disinfectant sprays or wipes are not intended for use on humans or animals. Disinfectant sprays or wipes are intended for use on hard, non-porous surfaces.
Q. If I add alcohol to non-alcohol hand sanitizer, will this be better to prevent COVID-19?
A. No. Addition of alcohol to an existing non-alcohol hand sanitizer is unlikely to result in an effective product.
Also read: FAQs on use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)
Q. Where should hand sanitizer be stored?
A. Hand sanitizer should be stored out of reach, and sight, of children. It should not be stored above 105°F (for example, it should not be stored in a car during the summer months).
Q. Is hand sanitizer dangerous for children?
A. For children under six years of age, hand sanitizer should be used with adult supervision. When used according to the directions on the Drug Label, hand sanitizer is not dangerous for children.
Hand sanitizer is dangerous when ingested by children. Drinking only a small amount of hand sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning in children. However, there is no need to be concerned if your children eat with or lick their hands after using hand sanitizer. It is also important to keep the product out of the eyes.
Q. What should you do if your child ingests hand sanitizer?
A. If your child ingests hand sanitizer, call poison control or a medical professional immediately.
Q. What are denaturants and why are they added to hand sanitizer?
A. Denaturants are added to alcohol to make it less appealing to ingest. Denatured alcohol is used in hand sanitizer to deter children from unintentional ingestion – the denatured alcohol makes the hand sanitizer taste bad so children will not want to continue once they have had a taste.
There are a number of adverse events every year resulting from intentional or unintentional ingestion of hand sanitizer, which is a particular concern for young children.
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