Amid the coronavirus outbreak ensuing widespread panic across the United States, many big (and small) city residents are stocking up on supplies like food, alcohol wipes, and hand sanitizer. The reaction and prep tactics are already causing shortages in major cities, with even Amazon raising the price of Purell packs to as much as $350.
As a result, people are looking to DIY solutions for getting what they need to protect themselves. But MacGyvering healthcare is not always the best idea, and it’s led to a vodka company having to put out warnings to the public over trying to create sanitizing supplies at home.
After a number of viral blogs and tutorials found people sharing recipes to create hand sanitizer out of alcohol, Tito’s Vodka suddenly became a sought-after ingredient. There’s just one problem: Tito’s isn’t actually potent enough to use to sanitize your hands. As a result, the company has had to put out a statement on social media and whoever runs their Twitter account is doing something they probably never thought would be part of their job description — telling Twitter users not to use Tito’s to stop the spread of coronavirus.
“Per the CDC, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol,” Tito’s statement reads. “Tito's Handmade Vodka is 40% alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC.” In other words, please cease from using Titos as a method to protect yourself against coronavirus.
Not only that, the homemade versions of hand sanitizer tend to be much harsher than store bought versions, which can be rougher on the skin and make it more vulnerable to infection. According to Sally Bloomfield, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, store-bought hand sanitizers often have emollients to prevent harsh skin reactions. “It’s very unwise, dangerous, even,” she told The Guardian.
California declared a state of emergency on Wednesday after the 54th case of COVID-19 was diagnosed. Lawmakers have reached a deal to provide $8.3 billion in emergency aid to combat the coronavirus. Health officials are recommending vigorous hand washing as the best way to avoid transmission, using soap and warm water and scrubbing the palms, backs of hands, and under the nails for at least 20 seconds. Also, since it is spread through saliva droplets, covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough is important. You should also avoid touching your face, if you can.