Is your hand sanitizer safe for use?
As people across the globe are peeping out of their homes and making plans to step out into the new normal, health, and safety in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic is of primary concern. The government and health authorities recommend travel only for essential purposes.
But how do you keep yourself safe when you have to travel to drop off essentials for someone that cannot step outside of the home, go to the supermarket or visit the bank?
Carrying a sanitization kit in your car at all times is absolutely essential. A basic kit would include a bottle of hand sanitizer, clean face masks (disposable or reusable), sanitizer wipes, and a refillable hand sanitizer dispenser or car sanitizer spray.
Alcohol based sanitizers with 60% to 90% alcohol by volume are the best recommended for effective disinfection. However, it is not suggested that you leave your travel sized hand rub in the car for a long period of time indirect exposure to the sun, and high temperatures.
What happens when you leave your alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the car for too long?
1. Lowered performance
The effectiveness of the constituent mixture of the product may take a hit at high temperatures.
The potency of an alcohol-based sanitizer or a hand rub is directly linked to the percentage of the active ingredient in it, which, in this case, is the alcohol. At high temperatures, alcohol in the product slowly evaporates into the air, resulting in a lessening of the amount present in the bottle and compromise of the germ-killing power.
The heat inside a closed car can cause damage to the gel and in turn, render it useless.
Alcohol based sanitizers should be kept in a cool place and the container should be completely shut after use.
2. Fire hazard
An important fact about alcohol is that it is inflammable, which means that it can catch fire very quickly. The concentration of alcohol found in most medically approved hand sanitizers is high enough to make it a fire hazard if not stored carefully.For a hand rub to work efficiently and kill all germs, the alcohol content in it should be greater than 60%.
Therefore, they should be stored in places away from high temperatures, direct sunlight, and places where there is a risk of catching fire.
Can my hand sanitizer explode if I keep it in my car?
If you use your own car for frequent travel, then it is possible that you keep essential items in the car and often forget to take them back with you when you get out. A sanitization kit in a car is as essential at the moment as is a first aid box.
So, what happens if you forget to remove that bottle of hand sanitizer from your car that you took with you while stepping out to run errands?
Chances are that you are mostly safe if it has not been too long and the weather has been considered cool.
Most hand sanitizing gels, sprays, and foams contain high amounts of alcohol, which is the reason for fire safety concerns. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are classified under Class I Flammable Liquid substances, which means they have a flashpoint of fewer than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that the product can catch fire if exposed to a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 degrees Celsius. Hence you must be a bit more careful about storing your bottle of hand sanitizer if you live in a place that experiences higher than average hot weather.
What happens if the hand rub catches fire?
The vapors of the product can be flammable. In the event that hand sanitizer combusts, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from, both of which are toxic to human health. Personnel involved in extinguishing hand sanitizer fires should wear sufficient respiratory protection to protect themselves from inhaling fumes. The guidelines for prescribed protective gear can be found in most health authority websites.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be stored away from all types of heat and ignition sources, including but not limited to naked sparks and flames, all types of electrical outlets, switches or equipment, and extreme heat.
If the gel or liquid is accidentally spilled or otherwise released, all potential ignition sources must be immediately removed from the area to mitigate the possibility of a fire.
Such products should be stored in places that do not experience extremely hot temperatures, like a bookshelf or study table or a secure and accessible place near the main door of your home.
Travel sized hand sanitizer dispensers are recommended to be carried everywhere you go. It is important to apply the gel or foam on hands frequently as personal use sanitizers are not effective against germs for a very long time. By taking a few precautionary measures, you can ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones in the time to come.
Disclaimer: Issued in public interest by Axio Biosolutions Private Limited. Kindly check the official guidance on WHO for more information on infection prevention and control of covid-19.