Fear of coronavirus has led people to stock up hand sanitizers
ISLAMABAD-Dread of the coronavirus has led people to stock up on the germ-killing gel, leaving store shelves empty and online retailers with sky-high prices set by those trying to profit on the rush. More is on the way, although it’s not clear how long it will take retailers to restock. Sales of hand sanitizers in the U.S. were up 73% in the four weeks ending Feb. 22 compared to the same period a year ago, according to market research.
The alcohol-based gunk is convenient, but hand sanitizer isn’t the best way to clean your hands. For that, soap and water still reigns supreme, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency recommends first washing hands with warm or cold water and then lathering soap for 20 seconds to get it on the backs of hands, between fingers and under finger nails before rinsing off. If you’re not near a sink, hand sanitizer will do.
But keep in mind that it doesn’t kill all germs. Read the label and make sure you’re using one that has at least 60% alcohol, the health agency says. After applying it, rub it all over your hands until they’re dry. Another tip: don’t touch your face, since health officials say viruses could enter your body from your eyes, mouth or nose.
Hospitals are more concerned about a shortage of face masks, which people have also been snatching up despite pleas from health officials.
Patient and treatment rooms in hospitals always have a sink and soap to wash hands. But there are no good alternatives to masks for nurses and doctors. Malls and sports arenas are adding more hand sanitizer stations.
And some workplaces have said they are stocking up, too.