Sanitizer

OUNCES OF PREVENTION: Using hand sanitizer is among the ways to keep from getting sick while on vacation.

There’s been a run on hand sanitizer — stores can’t keep it on the shelves amid rising coronavirus fears. But if you can’t find it, you can easily make your own.

Tanya Crum, an assistant professor of biology at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill., said the most effective ways of avoiding the virus are simply washing your hands with soap and water, avoiding touching your face and keeping a roughly 6-foot distance between you and other people in case they cough or sneeze.

But for those times when you can’t wash your hands, Crum said, buy a small spray bottle that you can carry with you, fill it with 70 percent rubbing alcohol, then use it as needed to spray your hands until they’re completely wet and rub them for 30 seconds.

“People are panicking because they’re getting their news from Facebook and Instagram instead of just going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website,” she said. “I didn’t buy hand sanitizer because I’m just using soap and water, and I have rubbing alcohol, so it was like, ‘Eh.’ ”

If you can’t find 70 percent rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer in stores, you can also make your own hand sanitizer by filling your spray bottle two-thirds with any 180-proof liquor and one-third with water or aloe vera, Crum said, but make sure you mix well before spraying your hands.

Also make sure the liquour is 180-proof. The usual run of bottled spirits are in the 90- to 100-proof range — insufficient strength to be effective as a disinfectant though suitable for enjoying responsibly.

As Tito’s Vodka of Austin, Texas, tweeted recently: “Per the CDC, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60 percent alcohol. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is 40 percent alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC.”

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