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Precautions with Hand Sanitizer

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Hand sanitizer has become liquid gold amid the coronavirus pandemic. It’s never been more important to wash your hands often and disinfect the things you touch every day. But, no matter how many times you’ve used it, we bet you have also made this one crucial mistake: leaving it in your car.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol in order to effectively kill germs. However, alcohol-based hand sanitizer (ABHS) usually contains ethyl alcohol, which “evaporates at room temperature.” So, if you leave it in a warm environment—like a vehicle—for too long, the heat will decrease the amount of alcohol, which is the active ingredient killing any germs or viruses. Thus, the hand sanitizer will basically become ineffective.

a close up of a man driving a car: After you do remove your gloves, it's important that you take things one step further and disinfect your hands to be cautious. Even though regular thorough hand-washing has been a top recommendation by medical professionals throughout the pandemic, getting into your car can present a tricky situation when you're leaving a supermarket without easy access to running hot water and soap. If you can't wash your hands at a sink immediately before entering your vehicle—which is likely the case—the next best thing is to make sure you have hand sanitizer waiting for you. "Not washing your hands with soap and water, wipes, alcohol sanitizer, or alcohol wipes prior to touching anything in your car has to be the number one mistake," says Enchanta Jenkins, MD, MHA.Make it a habit to sanitize your hands even after quick trips out of your car, especially after gas fill-ups and picking up takeout food. And for more items you'll want to avoid touching, check out 7 Things You'll Never Want to Touch Again After the Coronavirus.After you do remove your gloves, it’s important that you take things one step further and disinfect your hands to be cautious. Even though regular thorough hand-washing has been a top recommendation by medical professionals throughout the pandemic, getting into your car can present a tricky situation when you’re leaving a supermarket without easy access to running hot water and soap.If you can’t wash your hands at a sink immediately before entering your vehicle—which is likely the case—the next best thing is to make sure you have hand sanitizer waiting for you. “Not washing your hands with soap and water, wipes, alcohol sanitizer, or alcohol wipes prior to touching anything in your car has to be the number one mistake,” 

Make it a habit to sanitize your hands even after quick trips out of your car, especially after gas fill-ups and picking up takeout food. And for more items you’ll want to avoid touching, check out 7 Things You’ll Never Want to Touch Again After the Coronavirus.

“It’s definitely an issue if you leave your hand sanitizer in the car for days at a time or weeks,” An associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics at Florida Gulf Coast University, told WZVN. Although, he notes, that it is safe in the car when you are only running a quick errand.

If you do accidentally leave the bottle of disinfectant in your center console for a while, Boyce recommends bringing it inside and storing it in a cool place (like a cupboard or pantry with the rest of your cleaning supplies). Once it’s back to room temperature, then you can apply it without irritating your skin. 

by: Bestlife-Chelsea Bengier

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