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Can I get coronavirus from mail or package deliveries? Should I disinfect my phone?

by May 22, 2020

According to Google Trends, the top two most searched terms about mobile phones this week in Australia were “how to disinfect phone” and “how to clean your phone.”

And the third most-searched “can I get coronavirus from…?”-style question in the past week in Australia was “can you get coronavirus from mail?” (If you were wondering, “can you get coronavirus from food?” was number one, followed by “can you get coronavirus twice?”)

In short, many Australians are wondering what role phones and mail and/or package deliveries may play in the risk of coronavirus transmission.

To better understand the risk, and what you can do to reduce it, it helps to think about how your phone or mail might come into contact with coronavirus – and what the evidence says about how long it lives on various surfaces.

What do we know about how long the coronavirus can survive on a phone or mail?
Not a whole lot yet.

There has been some general media reporting on the role that surfaces play in the transmission of this coronavirus, termed SARS-CoV-2. That’s the virus that causes COVID-19.

But the main peer-reviewed journal paper on this topic was published about a week ago by the New England Journal of Medicine.

That paper found:

SARS-CoV-2 was more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard, and viable virus was detected up to 72 hours after application to these surfaces.

It also noted:

On copper, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 4 hours […] On cardboard, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 24 hours.

These might be underestimates. The virus may survive even longer on these surfaces, depending on conditions. That’s because these studies looked at how long the virus would survive when in a “buffer” (a solution in which viruses live in the lab). In real life, they would be in mucous and would be more stable.

The fact that the viruses seemed to last longest on plastic is something of a worry and means that, on phones, the virus could potentially last for days.

It is important to remember this is a new virus and we don’t yet have all the data. New findings are emerging every day.

It’s also possible that, in reality, the virus may last longer on phones than indicated in the recent lab experiments.

CDC data published yesterday detected the faint genetic signature of viruses (viral RNA) which had survived 17 days on surfaces in cruise ships. That doesn’t mean infectious virus particles were found after 17 days – only a part of the virus was detected in this study – but it does suggest there may be some cause for concern regarding how long this coronavirus can last on surfaces. More research is required on this question.

Ideally, you should be cleaning your phones, tablets and keyboards with alcohol wipes – if you can get them. Shutterstock

How might virus particles end up on a phone?
Talking on the phone generates an invisible spray of airborne droplets. A person with COVID-19 can have a lot of virus in the mucous at the back of their throat, so they’re likely spraying the virus on their phone every time they make a call.

If an infected person hands their phone to someone else, the virus could transfer to the new person’s fingertips, and then into their body if they touch their mouth, eyes or nose. (And remember, not every infected person displays the classic symptoms of fever and cough, and may be infectious before symptoms show).

It’s also possible there is an oral-faecal route for transmission of coronavirus. This coronavirus is often detected in faeces.

That means, for example, that tiny particles of poo generated by flushing a toilet could settle on a toothbrush, on a phone brought into the bathroom or on surfaces/food in an adjoining room. They could then end up in your mouth. At the moment this has not been shown, but it is certainly possible. SARS was sometimes spread by this route.

That’s why frequent handwashing with soap is so crucial.

What about mail?
It is technically possible a package or mail coming to your house is contaminated with virus picked up somewhere along the way by people handling or coughing on it. I think, though, the infection risk is very low because, as the New England Journal of Medicine study found, the survival time on cardboard is thought to be around one day.

And unlike plastic surfaces, cardboard is porous. That means a droplet would probably penetrate into the material and may not be so easily picked up when you touch the package.

The survival time on cardboard is thought to be one day. Shutterstock

What can I do to reduce my risk?
For starters, do the obvious things: wash hands frequently, reduce your contact with others (and if you do see other people, stay at least 1.5 metres apart, particularly if you are talking). Definitely don’t go out at all if you’re unwell.

Keep your phone to yourself. I’d be very reluctant to share my own phone with anyone right now, especially if they seem unwell.

It’s not clear what role children play in the transmission of this coronavirus but, just in case, children should be washing hands before they touch their parents’ phones. That said, it seems more likely at present that adults give it to children than the other way round.

Ideally, you should be cleaning your phones, tablets and keyboards with alcohol wipes (which need to be around 70% alcohol). They are quite effective at deactivating viruses (if somewhat hard to get now). Most baby wipes only have a low percentage of alcohol so are less effective but just the wiping would help remove virus particles.

In the worst case scenario, you can try using a damp cloth with a small amount of soap and water to clean your phone – but don’t let water get inside your phone and wreck it.

When it comes to mail and package deliveries, try to keep apart from the delivery person. Many delivery people are already forgoing the customary signature on the tablet, meaning you don’t have to touch a device or e-stylus that many others have already handled. You could consider wiping down a package before opening it, and washing your hands well after disposing of the packaging.

At the end of the day, the risk is never zero, and the world is a nightmare if you go too far down this route of worrying about every single surface.

The risk of infection via surfaces

by May 22, 2020

 

A lot of our customers are concerned about the risk of transmission of new Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) via a contaminated surface. Many viruses cannot live for long outside a human or animal host, whereas other viruses can survive for prolonged periods on contaminated surfaces. Based on current information, this Coronavirus (2019-nCoV ) sits somewhere in the middle of the risk zone. It can survive on a contaminated surface, but probably not for long. Thorough surface cleaning and disinfecting will ensure that any potentially contaminated surface is left in a clean and hygienic condition.

Whiteley Corporation has conducted a huge number of disinfectant tests against a wide array of infectious viruses over the past twenty-five years. We continue this long history of disinfectant and cleaning research with on-going testing and collaborative research programs, including virucidal testing. This knowledge frames the important factors to note about Coronavirus with respect to disinfectants.

Firstly, Coronavirus is an enveloped virus, and typically these viruses are not terribly difficult to kill on a surface. There is a tendency, in the context of a new pandemic, to go for the strongest disinfectant conceivable for surface disinfection. With a harder to kill virus, or a virus with particularly high mortality, that may be appropriate, however for 2019-nCoV that appears to be unwarranted.

Of course, if you want a stronger disinfectant, with full VIRUCIDAL claims, then we have several available for surface disinfection. SURFEX® is our ‘go-to’ top of the line product, being virucidal, bactericidal, fungicidal, and sporicidal. SURFEX comes as a dissolvable powder, it is simple to use, lasts up to 8 hours, and provides a colour coded solution to ensure full potency.

However, in the normal course of events, where surface contamination is a concern, but not a confirmed risk, then Transmission Precautions (see the NHMRC 2019 guidelines), using a compatible Hospital Grade Disinfectant and Wipe should be sufficient to ensure a clean and disinfected surface. Part of the issue here, is not to destroy surfaces or adversely affect staff or medical equipment with unnecessarily strong disinfectants such as highly concentrated chlorine solutions. A commonly available and safe to use alternative would be acceptable unless there is a confirmed Coronavirus contamination risk. We recommend VIRACLEAN® and V-Wipes for all Transmission Precautions .

Research funded by Whiteley Corporation has shown that once on surfaces, microorganisms can be transmitted to many other surfaces via contaminated hands and fingers. It is therefore essential, that appropriate Hand Hygiene with an alcohol-based hand rub (approved by the TGA), be used after touching any potentially contaminated surface. We recommend BACTOL® Alcohol Gel.

So, the simple conclusion for concerns over cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces which may be contaminated, such as with Coronavirus, is to clean and disinfect with a TGA approved Hospital Grade Disinfectant. You should always wash your hands when visibly soiled, use gloves where appropriate, and sanitise your hands regularly with a TGA approved alcohol-based hand rub. Following these simple guidelines will keep your surfaces clean and safe, and your hands free from infectious microorganisms including super bugs, and the Coronavirus.

Dr Greg S Whiteley

Executive Chairman

PhD, M Safety Sc, B App Sc, Dip AICD

FEHA, MASM, FSHEA

Cleaning and hygiene tips to help keep the COVID-19 virus out of your home

by May 18, 2020

From doing laundry to preparing meals — every day measures to help protect your family.

Can you catch the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from food? How should I do laundry now? Mundane household tasks have turned into a source of uncertainty and anxiety as families grapple with getting the basics done all while keeping their loved ones safe and healthy. Widespread misinformation about the virus puts everyone at risk and adds to the stress of having to filter fact from fiction.

While research into the COVID-19 virus is ongoing, we know the virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (through coughing and sneezing), and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. The virus may survive on surfaces for a few hours up to several days. The good news? Simple disinfectants can kill it. Now what does this mean for your home?

To give parents a helping hand, we compiled the latest expert information on what is known about COVID-19 and tips to help keep it out of your home.

Cleaning and hygiene tips to protect against COVID-19

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Personal hygiene

Simple hygiene measures can help protect your family’s health and everyone else’s.

Don’t touch your face

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands


Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately.

Keep your distance

Maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.

Wash, wash, wash your hands

Yes, you’re hearing it everywhere, because it’s the best line of defence. Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20-30 seconds.

An easy way to time it with your children is by singing the full happy birthday song, twice.

Make sure to wash hands after you blow your nose, sneeze into a tissue, use the restroom, when you leave and return to your home, before preparing or eating food, applying make-up, handling contact lenses etc.

If using a hand sanitizer ensure that it contains at least 60 per cent alcohol, ensure coverage on all parts of the hands and rub hands together for 20-30 seconds until hands feel dry. If hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.

Did you know? Cold water and warm water are equally effective at killing germs and viruses — as long as you use soap and wash your hands the right way!

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Cleaning and disinfecting tips

Cleaning around the home

Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces in your home regularly is an important precaution to lower the risk of infection.

Follow cleaning product instructions for safe and effective use, including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation.

Some national authorities have made lists of recommended products for use against the COVID-19 virus.

High-touch surfaces to clean and disinfect

Every home is different, but common high-touch surfaces include: Door handles, tables, chairs, handrails, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, taps, toilets, light switches, mobile phones, computers, tablets, keyboards, remote controls, game controllers and favourite toys.

What to use to clean and disinfect

If a surface is dirty, first clean it with soap or detergent and water. Then use a disinfectant product containing alcohol (of around 70 per cent) or bleach. Vinegar and other natural products are not recommended.

In many places it can be difficult to find disinfectant sprays and wipes. In such cases, continue to clean with soap and water. Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used on some surfaces.

How to disinfect

It’s important not to wipe cleaning solutions off as soon as you’ve applied it to a surface. Many disinfectant products, such as wipes and sprays, need to stay wet on a surface for several minutes in order to be effective. Always read the directions to make sure you’re using the products as recommended and to avoid damaging sensitive items such as mobile phones and other electronic devices. Consider using wipe able covers for electronics.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Cleaning clothes and laundry tips

Cleaning clothes

It is currently unclear how long the COVID-19 virus can survive on fabric, but many items of clothing have plastic and metal elements on which it might live for a few hours to several days.

Exercise caution and common sense. Good practices to consider include removing your shoes when you enter your home and changing into clean clothes when you return home after being in crowded places, and washing your hands with soap and water immediately afterwards.

Doing laundry at home

Clean bed sheets, towels and clothes regularly.

  • Don’t shake dirty laundry to minimize the possibility of dispersing the virus through the air.
  • Launder items with soap or detergent, using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely — both steps help to kill the virus.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub, immediately afterwards.
  • Wash or disinfect your laundry bag and hamper as well. Consider storing laundry in disposable bags.

Doing laundry outside your home


If you need to use laundry facilities outside of your home, take sensible precautions:

  • Prepare laundry before leaving your home to help minimize the amount of time you spend outside.
  • Try to go at a time when there are fewer people.
  • Maintain physical distance to other people.
  • Wear disposable gloves if available, disinfect the surfaces of all machines you use and don’t touch your face.
  • For indoor laundry facilities, wait outside for your laundry to finish if you can.
  • Fold your laundry at home.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub, immediately afterwards.
  • Wash or disinfect your laundry bag/ hamper as well. Consider storing laundry in disposable bags.

If you don’t have access to laundry facilities, hand wash your clothes at home with soap or detergent and the warmest appropriate water.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): handling and preparing food tips

Handling and preparing food

While at present there is no evidence of people catching the COVID-19 virus from food or food packaging, it may be possible that people can become infected by touching a surface or object contaminated by the virus and then touching their face.

The greater risk comes from being in close contact with other people while outside food shopping or receiving a food delivery (as receiving any delivery in areas with local transmission). As always, good hygiene is important when handling food to prevent any food-borne illnesses.

Food packaging and handling precautions

  • Remove any unnecessary packaging and dispose into a waste bin with a lid.
  • Remove food from take-out containers, place on a clean plate and dispose of the container.
  • Packaging like cans can be wiped clean with a disinfectant before being opened or stored.
  • Wash unpackaged produce, such as fruit and vegetables, thoroughly under running water.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub, immediately afterwards.

General food hygiene tips

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before preparing any food.
  • Use separate chopping boards to prepare uncooked meat and fish.
  • Cook food to the recommended temperature.
  • Where possible, keep perishable items refrigerated or frozen, and pay attention to product expiry dates.
  • Aim to recycle or dispose of food waste and packaging in an appropriate and sanitary manner, avoiding build-up of refuse which could attract pests.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before eating and make sure your children do the same.
  • Always use clean utensils and plates.

Disinfecting phones: A how-to for COVID-19 prevention

by May 18, 2020

Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA on April 17, 2020 — Written by Zawn Villines

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to clean commonly touched surfaces regularly. Throughout the day, most people will likely touch a cell phone multiple times. So, disinfecting a phone could help to slow or prevent the spread of infection.

A phone may fall on bathroom floors, come into contact with tiny droplets from sneezes and coughs, and encounter every type of germ a person’s hand does. But unlike the hands, phones are impossible to wash with soap and water.

Therefore, cell phones are a potentially dangerous source of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.

Read on to find out the best way to disinfect a cell phone.

Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.

What to use to disinfect phones

How to help disinfect your phone from coronavirus without damaging ...
A person can use pads, wipes, or sprays that contain 70% alcohol to disinfect a phone.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have approved a comprehensive list of products that can safely disinfect household objects, including cell phones.

All products on the list meet the EPA’s criteria for use against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but only if a person follows the manufacturer’s instructions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using a solution that contains at least 70% alcohol to disinfect phones. Some products that meet these requirements include:

People should follow the phone manufacturer’s instructions and disinfection guides. For example, Apple and Samsung recommend using Clorox wipes, 70% alcohol wipes, or 70% alcohol solution on a microfiber cloth.

To reduce the risk of damaging the phone, wipes may be a better alternative than sprays. By using a spray, the solution may pool on the phone and cause internal damage.

What not to use to disinfect phones
Many of the products on the EPA’s recommended list contain ammonia, bleach, lactic acid, or hydrogen peroxide. While these can safely clean surfaces and phone cases, they are not suitable for electronics such as cell phones.

It is advisable to avoid using the following products:

  • general purpose household cleaners, especially those that contain bleach
  • makeup remover
  • antibacterial wipes that do not contain 70% alcohol or another product on the EPA’s list
  • wound cleaners
  • soap
  • vinegar

It is also unsafe to submerge a phone in water for any period of time, even if it completely dries thereafter.

Some cleaning products can create dangerous chemicals or odors when people mix them. Never mix products containing ammonia with those that contain bleach.

The safest option is to pick a single disinfectant and stick with it, so that remnants of one disinfectant do not later interact with a new disinfectant.

How to disinfect
To disinfect a phone, carefully read the instructions on the product label. Some spray products may require the solution to air dry for as long as 10 minutes.

If the phone dries before the recommended saturation time on the label, disinfecting may not be as effective. However, the CDC report that hospital grade sanitizers may work in as little as 1 minute.

Disinfecting a phone can spread germs to the hands, and from the hands back to the phone. Therefore, it is best to wash hands before and after disinfecting.

A guide for disinfecting a phone is as follows:

  • Remove the phone from any casing and power it down.
  • Sanitizers may not work as well when a phone is greasy or dirty. Therefore, a person should wipe the phone with a dry or damp cloth first to remove all dirt.
  • Thoroughly wipe the phone to cover the entire surface in disinfectant. Avoid spraying disinfectant into the phone’s charging port. If this area is wet, it can damage the phone or even cause electric shocks.
  • Allow the disinfectant to be in contact with the phone for the recommended amount of time.
  • Wipe down the phone with a cloth once more.
  • Next, repeat the previous steps with any cases and covers. Leave the phone case and phone separate until the disinfectant has been in contact for the recommended amount of time.


How often to disinfect
CDC recommend disinfecting all frequently touched surfaces, such as phones, doorknobs, and remote controls, daily.

In some situations, it may be appropriate to disinfect more frequently.

Doing so can greatly reduce exposure to viruses, bacteria, and other dangerous sources of infection. Consider disinfecting a phone in the following circumstances:

  • after another person uses or borrows it
  • after sneezing or coughing while holding the phone
  • after dropping it, especially if it falls outside of the household or on a potentially contaminated surface
  • after using the phone in public


If someone in the house is sick, consider storing the phone in a plastic bag and wiping it down after each use to reduce the risk of contamination.

Medical professionals may want to keep their phones away from patients or disinfect their phones very frequently.

A 2015 study found that 44 out of 53 doctors’ phones contained potentially dangerous bacteria, suggesting they may be a source of contamination in the examination and operating rooms.

Here’s Exactly Where We Are with Vaccines and Treatments for COVID-19

by May 18, 2020

Written by Shawn Radcliffe on May 15, 2020 – Fact checked by Jennifer Chesak

Where We're at with Vaccines and Treatments for COVID-19

With confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide surpassing 4.3 million and continuing to grow, scientists are pushing forward with efforts to develop vaccines and treatments to slow the pandemic and lessen the disease’s damage.

Some of the earliest treatments will likely be drugs that are already approved for other conditions, or have been tested on other viruses.

“People are looking into whether existing antivirals might work or whether new drugs could be developed to try to tackle the virus,” said Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, a professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

HEALTHLINE’S CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE.
Stay informed with our live updates about the current COVID-19 outbreak. Also, visit our coronavirus hub for more information on how to prepare, advice on prevention and treatment, and expert recommendations.

As of May 8, three medications Trusted Source had received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — the anti-malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, the anti-viral remdesivir, and a drug used to sedate people on a ventilator.

An EUA allows doctors to use these drugs to treat people with COVID-19 even before the medications have gone through the formal FDA approval process.

In mid-May, the small biotech company, Sorrento Therapeutics, announced it has an antibody drug that has been effective in early testing in blocking the virus that causes COVID-19. They say the drug could potentially be used to treat people with COVID-19 as well as help prevent infection.

These drugs are still being tested in clinical trials to see if they are effective against COVID-19. This step is needed to make sure the medications are safe for this particular use and what the proper dosage should be.

So it could be months before treatments are available that are known to work against COVID-19. It could be even longer for a vaccine.

But there are still other tools we can use to reduce the damage done by the novel coronavirus.

“Even though technological advances allow us to do certain things more quickly,” Lee told Healthline, “we still have to rely on social distancing, contact tracing, self-isolation, and other measures.”

Searching for effective treatments
Drug development is sometimes described as a pipeline, with compounds moving from early laboratory development to laboratory and animal testing to clinical trials in people.

It can take a decade or more for a new compound to go from initial discovery to the marketplace. Many compounds never even make it that far.

That’s why many medications being eyed as potential treatments for COVID-19 are drugs that already exist.

In a recent review in the British Journal of Pharmacology, scientists from the United Kingdom called for wider screening of existing drugs to see if they might work against the coronavirus.

They identified three stages of infection at which the coronavirus could be targeted: keeping the virus from entering our cells, preventing it from replicating inside the cells, and minimizing the damage that the virus does to the organs.

Many of the drugs being developed or tested for COVID-19 are antivirals. These would target the virus in people who already have an infection.

Lee says antivirals work better if you administer them sooner, “before the virus has a chance to multiply significantly.” And also before the virus has caused significant damage to the body, such as to the lungs or other tissues.

Dr. Robert Amler, dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice at New York Medical College and a former chief medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), says both antivirals and vaccines will be valuable tools in combating COVID-19.

However, he told Healthline that “antivirals are likely to be developed and approved before a vaccine, which typically takes longer.”

Why You Might Want to Think Twice Before Making Your Own Hand Sanitizer

by May 18, 2020

Written by Elizabeth Pratt on March 15, 2020 – Fact checked by Dana K. Cassell

This is *exactly* how long to wash your hands to kill germs | Well ...

People may be tempted to make their own hand sanitizers, but expert washing your hands with soap and warm water is a better choice. Getty Images
Recipes for homemade hand sanitizers are available online, but experts say those DIY products may not be the best option during the coronavirus disease outbreak.
They say the recipes are too complicated for most people, and products that are mixed incorrectly can cause burns or other issues.
The experts say washing your hands with soap and warm water is the best way to protect against COVID-19.
All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus hub and follow our live updates page for the most recent information on the COVID-19 outbreak.

As hand sanitizers become more difficult to find, experts are warning consumers to be careful about making their own or mistakenly buying do-it-yourself versions made by amateurs.

They say that proper handwashing and social distancing are the best ways to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Clean hands are a very important way to prevent infection or spread, especially with viruses like the coronaviruses, which can survive on surfaces or inanimate objects for hours to even a day or more,” Stephen Morse, PhD, MS, an infectious disease expert from Columbia University in New York, told Healthline.

Alcohol-based sanitizer containing at least 60 percent ethanol, preferably at least 62 percent or at least 70 percent isopropanol, is officially recommended,” he noted. “It will kill coronavirus in 15 to 30 seconds, about the time it takes the alcohol to evaporate after it’s applied, so wait for it to evaporate naturally. Sanitizers are not magic. They’re really mostly for convenience, to encourage you to have clean hands when you don’t have access to soap and water or don’t have time to wash.”

Hand sanitizer price gouging

Hand sanitizers are a hot commodity in stores and online, with reports of price gouging on Amazon and products being advertised for 50 percent higher than normal.

“That’s really nasty, people taking advantage of everyone’s anxiety and good public health practice to make an extra dollar,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, told Healthline.

“I’m really unhappy with that and particularly so since obviously all these interventions to prevent the spread of coronavirus have adverse economic effects,” he added. “There are many people who will have a reduction or some people will even lose their salaries during this period of time.”

Dr. Jaime Friedman, a pediatrician from San Diego, is hopeful President Trump’s declaration last week of a national state of emergency over the COVID-19 outbreak will help combat the price gouging.

“I think it’s terrible. Vulnerable people, like the elderly who may be on a fixed income, are not able to afford inflated prices,” she told Healthline. “Now that there is a national state of emergency, this is illegal and hopefully offenders will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

DIY products can be unsafe
Those unable to buy sanitizer in stores are hunting for alternatives.

In at least one case, there were serious health consequences.

A boy in New Jersey suffered burns after using a spray sanitizer that had been made by the owner of a local 7-Eleven store. The owner had mixed water with foaming sanitizer that’s commercially available but not intended for resale and put the mixture into a spray bottle.

The 11-year-old boy who used the product suffered chemical burns to his arms and legs. It’s reported that 14 bottles of the spray were sold at the store before police were notified.

Friedman says consumers should always check the label when purchasing a hand sanitizer product to ensure it’s legitimate.

“People should look for bottles that are properly labeled with ingredients listed on the label. A spray is not a typical way to apply sanitizer, so this should be the first sign that this was not an appropriate product,” she said.

“This brings up another common mistake I see: people using disinfectant wipes intended for surfaces, on their hands,” Friedman added. “This is not advisable, as these wipes may contain bleach or other ingredients not meant for consumption or use on skin. The containers will say to wash hands after use and to also wipe down food surfaces after use.”

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