FIT-WebQoof: Will Using Hand Sanitisers Damage Your Hands & Eyes?

FIT-WebQoof: Can over use of hand sanitisers burn your hands?

3 min read

Ever since the emergence of coronavirus, there has been emphasis on hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds, or if soap is not available, use a hand sanitiser.

Use of hand sanitisers have grown exponentially. At the same time, several viral posts calling sanitisers dangerous have been doing the rounds.

A picture with swollen, puss filled hands is doing the rounds with the claim that this is caused by overuse of hand sanitisers.

FIT-WebQoof: Will Using Hand Sanitisers Damage Your Hands & Eyes?
Source: Twitter

Can Use of Sanitisers Leads to Boils and Swollen Hands?

To fact-check this claim, we reached to to Dr Dr DM Mahajan, senior consultant with the dermatology department at Apollo Hospitals, Delhi.

“The kind of reaction shown to sanitiser use shown in the pictures, I haven’t seen in my life. However, the quality of sanitisers can be questionable - whether the sanitiser was mixed with some caustics or some caustics were used along with the sanitiser. But in normal use, I haven’t seen such a reaction.”
Dr DM Mahajan, Dermatologist, Apollo Hospitals

According to Dr Mahajan, in a normal sanitiser, such is reaction is unlikely, unless it contains something that causes burning, or if it has been used alongside a caustic. India’s Health Ministry or any other health agency has not spoken about hand sanitisers leading to burning. The messaging has been that if you don’t have soap and water, using sanitisers is advisable.


Can a Splash of Liquid Sanitiser in Your Eyes Damage the Cornea?

FIT-WebQoof: Will Using Hand Sanitisers Damage Your Hands & Eyes?

Another message related to sanitisers has gone viral. It claims that while opening a liquid sanitiser, a splash of the sanitiser on the eyes caused cornea damage to a girl’s eye. It further says that if instead of liquid sanitiser, a gel-based sanitiser was used, it would not have caused so much damage.

We reached out to Dr Anita Sethi, an eye specialist at Gurugram’s Fortis Hospital, to cross-check this claim.

“Any sanitiser, whether liquid or gel based, if it enters the eye, it can cause irritation and burning sensation. It’s rare that it would cause cornea injury, because by reflex, if anything enters our eye, our eyes will shut down.”
Dr Anita Sethi, Eye Specialist, Fortis Hospital, Gurugram

Dr Sribhargav Nitesh, director of Netra Eye, Bengaluru, had this to say.

“Cornea damage to the eye will depend not on whether the sanitiser is liquid or gel-based, but on how much sanitiser entered the eye and for how long.”


Keep These Things in Mind While Using a Hand Sanitiser

  • Keep the sanitiser away from fire and high temperatures
  • When using the sanitiser, make sure your hands dry out completely
  • Don't use a sanitiser if the skin is sensitive or on the sensitive part of the skin
  • Kids should ideally use sanitisers under adult supervision

If the sanitiser does enter your eyes, follow these steps:

  • Wash your eyes gently, ideally with mineral water. If not, even normal water will help
  • You can use lubricating eyedrops like refresh tears 2-3 times at a gap of 10 minutes
  • If irritation, burning lack of vision persists, see a doctor immediately

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