Alcohol is effective at killing both viruses and bacteria, making it the main component of many sanitizers. However, as alcohol is flammable, it can easily ignite and cause accidents.
Kate Wise, a Texas mom, suffered severe burns after using a hand sanitizer, according to local media reports.
She was lighting a candle when the flames ripped up her arm. In her panic, Kate knocked over a bottle of alcohol by accident causing a “bomb-like” explosion. She was sent to intensive care at the weekend with burns on 18% of her body.
The tragedy that happened to Kate Wise cannot be a one-off accident. This May, a man suffered 35% burn injuries to his face, neck, hands, and chest in India when he used a hand sanitizer while standing near a stove in the kitchen. All these things are a simple wake-up call for us: alcohol-based hand sanitizers must be used carefully.
Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with caution
1. Use soap and water instead
Although more and more people are inclined to use hand sanitizers nowadays, soap and water can meet most of the cleaning needs in a safer way. In fact, washing hands with soap and water has been shown to work even better than hand sanitizers. Therefore, it’s a smart choice to use sanitizers only when necessary, like when you come in contact with many people. And let soap and water deal with normal circumstances.
2. Choose a tube sanitizer over a spray one when you have to use sanitizers
A spray sanitizer is more likely to cause a fire than a tube one. This is because a spray tends to dispense more sanitizers at once and not to evaporate so quickly.
3. Wait for your sanitizer to dry on your hands and never use it near a place with fire
Kate Wise suffered severe burns when she lit a candle after using a hand sanitizer. Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, experts say it might be caused by the sanitizer failing to evaporate completely. The truth is, after using the sanitizer, you should wait at least a minute for it to dry on your hands and then wave your hands to remove any vapors that may be floating around. You should never use it near a place with fire.
While hand sanitizers are commonly used every day, the dangers of using them cannot be neglected. Take care when you use a sanitizer next time.