My mailbox has filled up the past couple of days with letters from readers who find themselves on the verge of Purell panic!
Purell is flying off the shelves as people are hoarding gel-based hand sanitizers in response to the new coronavirus. My sources report that hand sanitizer has mostly disappeared from store shelves in the U.S. as individuals and businesses stock up on supplies.
Is this panic warranted? Dr. David Dowdy at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health told the New York Post, "Ultimately, I don't think the panic of sanitizers is warranted because the current risk of infection by the coronavirus in the USA is exceedingly small," in an article posted on March 3.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands with soap and water as a first line of defense. This is because hand-washing reduces the amounts of ALL types of germs and chemicals on hands. Here is the proper protocol offered by the CDC for effective hand washing.
Follow These Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
Step 1: Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Step 2: Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
Step 3: Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
Step 4: Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Step 5: Dry your hands using a clean towel, or air-dry them.
However, if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.
Other facts from the CDC about hand sanitizers include:
— Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations.
— Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
— Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy. — Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals
So, what's a wise person to do when hand sanitizer is nowhere to be found? You can make it yourself using the following recipe. It uses ingredients you may already have or are available at any supermarket, drugstore or online.
RECIPE FOR HOMEMADE HAND SANITIZER
When hand sanitizer is in short supply, don't panic. Instead, make it yourself.
Prep Time: 10 minutes.
Total Time: 10 minutes.
Equipment: mixing bowl; spoon; funnel; small spray bottle, liquid soap container or other container for dispensing.
4 cups isopropyl alcohol (70%). Can substitute greater strengths. (Note: Also known in the U.S. as rubbing alcohol. Readily available in any drugstore, supermarket or online retailer in varying strengths.)
3 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide (3%). (Note: Check expiration date to make sure it's fresh.)
2 tablespoons glycerine. (Note: Find glycerine in drugstores and some supermarkets in the baking aisle.)
Pour the isopropyl alcohol into a clean container. Add hydrogen peroxide. Add glycerine. Gently mix the ingredients together either by stirring or sealing and gently shaking the bottle. Dispense the sanitizer into smaller individual bottles that have tight-fitting lids.
Yield: 4 cups
Would you like more information? Go to EverydayCheapskate.com for links and resources for recommended products and services in this column. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."
Photo credit: Mimzy at Pixabay