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Drew: How to stay safe by properly using hand sanitizer

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By Samuetta Hill Drew


Everyone has heard through various forms of communication that washing hands is a critical safety factor in preventing the spread of germs, especially during this new normal COVID 19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a “Life is Better with Clean Hands” campaign. This campaign encourages adults to make hand washing part of their everyday life and encourages parents to wash their hands to set a good example for their children.

As we continue our “How To” series this article will focus on the next best alternative to hand washing when soap and water are not available – hand sanitizer. For usefulness, the hand sanitizer should contain 16 percent alcohol. The alcohol content is located on the product label.

Hand sanitizer can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. The CDC cautions not to swallow this product.

It is made for external use only. Swallowing this product can cause alcohol poisoning.  Therefore, it is especially important to keep hand sanitizer out of the reach of children. There is a warning label on this product from the manufacturers also cautioning against swallowing the product.

Where hand sanitizer is highly recommended as a good alternative when soap and water is unavailable, it is noteworthy to understand it does not get rid of all types of germs. It is not effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy. It may not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals. So do not get a false sense of safety by using hand sanitizer, wash your hands with soap and water as soon as possible.

For ultimate effectiveness it is essential to use the hand sanitizer properly. Therefore, apply the gel product to the palm of your hand. Read the product label to determine the correct amount to use. Then rub your hands together. Make sure you rub the gel over the surface of your hands (back and front) and fingers (rub between your fingers also). Rub until your hands are dry. This should take about 20 seconds.

Many individuals keep hand sanitizer in their motor vehicles. They use it after pumping gas, when returning to their vehicle from a public space such as a grocery store. Many also spread the gel over their steering wheels, door handles and other surfaces frequently touched inside their vehicle.

Cleanliness of hands is always vital in the fight against spreading germs. It is a crucial preventive and protective measure in the effort of Keeping an Eye on Safety during this pandemic Coronavirus COVID – 19.