Unable to purchase hand sanitizer? This pharmacist has some fundamental info for you #CoronaVirus

We bring you curated wisdom from the web and unrolling twitter threads is one of our most fav one! Here goes a thread by a pharmacist.

She is trying her best to calm down people who are unable to get hand sanitizers as most of them are out-of-stock (thanks to the viral scare over Corona virus). What follows now is more of a first-principle thinking around santization and tools we have at our disposal.


HI TWITTER! I am a pharmacist. I sell hand sanitizer for a living! Or I do when any exists. Like masks, it is sold the fuck out everywhere. SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED? No. Use soap. SHOULD YOU VISIT TWENTY PHARMACIES LOOKING FOR THE LAST BOTTLE? No. Pharmacies are full of sick people.
WHAT ABOUT MAKING MY OWN? Oh just use soap. If you screw up and don’t use enough alcohol, your homebrew won’t work, and even if you do, most homemade versions dry your skin too much, making it MORE vulnerable to infection.
I’m a professional compounding pharmacist, and I can make hand sanitizer gel, having learned this art in the 2009 pandemic, and it is VERY DIFFICULT. Getting alcohol to gel is so pissy, but using straight-up liquid versions destroys your skin. Just. Use. Soap.
I READ ON THE INTERNET THAT HAND SANITIZER DOESN’T WORK ON VIRUSES, JUST BACTERIA. Good news, the internet is wrong! It works fine on viruses. If you have some, go ahead and use it. If you don’t, use soap.
I HAVE HAND SANITIZER AND SOAP, WHAT SHOULD I USE? If you have access to a sink and hot water, use soap preferentially. Easier on your skin and it removes gunk that hand sanitizer does not, for example c. difficile spores. Hand sanitizer is fine for out and about, but soap wins.
WHAT ABOUT MASKS? Don’t lie, you don’t have any. But if you do, save them for if someone in your household gets sick, and get the sick person to wear them. Masks are best at protecting people from you, not protecting you from people.
Here’s the rule of thumb for masks: if they fit well enough and block enough to protect you, they will be COMPLETELY UNBEARABLE SWEATY HELL to wear for more than five minutes. Ask any hospital employee who has to wear one.
That was me suggesting you don’t bother to wear masks, not me suggesting you should endure mask hell, to be clear. Actual positive advice: get a flu shot if you haven’t already, stay away from crowds as best you can, stay away from people if you are sick as best you can.
@heavenscalyx Unless you use too much aloe gel, which is extremely easy to do. Isopropyl alcohol is usually 70% alcohol; you need 60+% for it to be effective, so as soon as you add more than 10% gel, which would still leave it SUPER liquidy, it’s not doing anything but drying your hands out.
@heavenscalyx But using just straight rubbing/isopropyl alcohol is a bad idea too, as it dries your skin so much that it is more vulnerable to infection. If you can’t find commercial hand sanitizer, it’s safest to just avoid touching your mouth and eyes until you can wash with soap.
@artbyailbhe @seananmcguire Things like Cetaphil and other non-soap cleansers are usually fine for protection. They contain surfactants, which is the thing that busts up / removes bacteria and viruses. Regular soap works better, but if regular soap makes your skin crack and bleed, it is not protecting you.

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