Hand sanitizer in short supply, but is it the best defense against the coronavirus?


WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — Fears about the spread of the coronavirus has people emptying shelves of certain products at grocery stores and pharmacies. Now, stores across the state are rationing products.

News 8 checked at a Walgreens and a CVS in Wethersfield, both out of hand sanitizer, masks, cleaning disinfectants, and Lysol. The same is happening around the state.

At Apex Pharmacy in Hamden, they have been out of hand sanitizer for 12 days. They just got a new shipment on Wednesday morning, but they could only get the small bottles. The owner says even those are a popular size.

He says they are rationing how many a customer can buy at once. “We are limiting them to one package per customer, just to try and serve as many of our patients as we can.”

He says he’s not sure how long supplies will last but they have more on order.

With so many stores running low on these supplies, hand sanitizer is selling for as much as $25 a bottle on the internet, and people are looking for recipes to make their own.

David Mason of Apex Pharmacy explained that people have learned through the internet that they can make their own “hand sanitizer” by mixing alcohol and aloe vera gel, but right now all supplies of all of those are also out of stock.

A homemade brew of hand sanitizer? Is it safe? Will it work? Hard to know if you’re getting it off the internet. But experts say if you are going to attempt it, keep in mind, alcohol is flammable.

But do these products even stand up against the coronavirus?

Does hand sanitizer work against the coronavirus? What percentage of alcohol do you need in the hand sanitizer?

News 8’s Bob Wilson asked the experts at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and they say it works very well; it will kill the virus.

But, they say, handwashing also works as well, especially if your hands are dirty.

Regular hand sanitizer, Purell, they all work very well against the coronavirus, but so does good old-fashioned handwashing, which really would be preferable especially if you do have any visible dirt on your skin.

– Dr. Melissa Held/ Connection Children’s Medical Center

Dirty hands tend to collect the virus, making it harder for the hand sanitizer to work.

Experts also recommend using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

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