Saturday, March 21, 2020

Bogus Hand Sanitizers

As anticipated, bogus and dangerous crackpot cures have been bubbling up during the recent COVID-19 outbreak.   We know that hand hygiene is important at this time, and that soap and water are superior to all other methods of virus suppression on your hands. Period. 

Of course, there are those that shun the offerings of Big Soap and delve into the alchemy cabinet to devise a magical virus shield. Sadly, the folks that shun science and technology in a medical parlance certainly appreciate the technology of the computer, and are glad to share their shaman's crappy guidance with the world. 

As a guy that hangs at farmers markets and has some crunchy online friends, I am seeing too much quackery.  The majority state that homemade hand sanitizers can be made from various ingredients found in any respectable commune's infirmary. 



At least you'll have supple, sweet smelling hands in the casket.



If you don't want to construct your own, or if local witches went to Whole Foods and bought all the witch hazel, you can buy pre-made sanitizers.  The internet abounds with multi-level marketing companies using the COVID19  situation to peddle their nostrums. There is no reliable evidence of efficacy against the virus.  Yet the claims abound. 


Nothing like taking advantage of a health crisis to promote bad science.  The Essential Oil Blend to "keep you virus free"


I've lived my entire life without essential oils, meaning that they are actually optional oils.  Sadly there are many out there profiting heavily by scaring people on one hand, and selling them an alleged remedy with the other.  Here's a beauty...

SOLD OUT!  at forty-five bucks for a two pack.  Foaming Hand Wash is a fancy name for "soap"

The bottom line is that it takes soap and water to wash your hands, and ethanol or isopropanol can do a good job at disinfecting if applied at over 60%.  That means the claims of DIY solutions with vodka (at 40%) are DOA, which is bad news for the non-GMO vodka folks over at Smirnoff. 

Right now it is time for the science minded to dial up their game and communicate the evidence-based information to the public. Part of this responsibility means calling out dangerous trends and fake cures and false prophylaxis.  As in any crisis, virus carpetbaggers will seek to separate the fearful from their cash, and it is up to us to provide a durable information shield.