Ayobambo Fajuyitan, a pharmacist, has warned Nigerians against the dependence of hand sanitizers with low alcohol content, saying such sanitizers cannot prevent novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
The hand sanitizer has been recommended by health authorities as an alternative means to all Nigerians to keep their hands clean in the absence of soap and running water as the country grapples to curb the pandemic.
But speaking in an interview, Fajuyitan explained that some of the hand sanitizers currently in the market lack the required 60 per cent alcohol content needed to eliminate bacteria on hands.
“Not all hand sanitisers in the market are capable of killing the COVID-19 virus because the alcohol contents are low,’’ the pharmacist told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
“The majority of the hand sanitizers produced in Nigeria don’t even have up to 62 per cent ethyl alcohol.
“When at home, it’s preferred you use hand washing method: It’s better to use the hand wash in a running tap for 20 seconds when at home.’’
Fajuyitan also warned individuals against ingesting of hand sanitiser, warning that the level of alcohol content is dangerous to the affected person’s health.
“Hand sanitisers contain majorly glycerine and ethanol. Hand sanitiser contains 62 per cent ethyl alcohol and that’s the equivalent of four shots of vodka.
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“At that concentration, even a small dose can be dangerous if ingested,’’ Fajuyitan said.
According to him, the ingestion can lead to dizziness, slurred speech, headaches and even brain damage or death in extreme cases.
“Also ocular irritation, vomiting, conjunctivitis, oral irritation, cough, and abdominal pain.
“Rare effects included coma, seizure, hypoglycemia metabolic acidosis, and respiratory depression may occur. “
“If you eat with your hands after using hand sanitiser, be cautious as excessive use of sanitiser can make you prone to viral infections as removal of bacteria give ample space for the virus to grow and sanitisers are not capable of denaturing viruses,’’ he said.