The whole world is in a panic mode with many countries imposing mandatory shutdowns forcing people to stay indoors to curb the spread of coronavirus. This naturally results in a rapid increase in the number of fake messages surfacing on social media day by day.

From netizens blindly believing some homemade remedies that have the "power to kill the coronavirus" to various misleading news items, people seem to be confused about picking the right and wrong piece of information. The latest message that is widely being shared by netizens is regarding the usage of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Is hand sanitizer safe?

As per the new viral message, people are instructed not to go near fire or stove after applying hand sanitizers as it contains alcohol. "This lady applied sanitizer and went to the kitchen to cook. The moment she turned on the stove, her hands caught fire as alcohol is present in the sanitizer," reads the viral message, which is being shared with a photo of a woman's hands burned badly. Now, out of fear, many spread the news requesting others to be careful while using hand sanitizers.

This photo is being shared with the fake message:
This photo is being shared with the fake message: "Please do not go near stove/fire after applying alcohol-based hand sanitizers" Whatsapp

Debunking fake news

At first glance itself, this looks like a fake message. In the picture, the woman's hand is seen burned badly. But it has to be noted that within 10 seconds of applying any alcohol-based sanitizer, it will evaporate and it is definitely impossible to cause a burn. Also, health experts have advised using just one millilitre of the liquid. Besides, if you think logically, can this small quantity of sanitizer burn your hands like this?

Also, in the picture, you can see sharp edges in the woman's hand that looks like she has had a surgical procedure called skin grafting involving removing the skin from one part to transplanting to another part.

Yes, hand sanitizer is flammable

There are many flammable items that we use on a regular basis, be it deodorants or mouthwash, as these items contain alcohol. Therefore, if you directly expose these items to fire, it is undoubtedly dangerous. Similarly, if sanitizer bottles are exposed directly to a heat source, it can cause a fire. You can test it by pouring a small quantity of the liquid on a steel plate and bringing a lighted match stick or lighter next to it.

Though hand sanitizer is a flammable item, when a small quantity is applied on your hands it will not cause any fire as it evaporates within seconds. Nevertheless, we do not recommend you to test it.

It has to be noted that in order to prevent COVID-19 infection, the most recommended and effective way is to maintain personal hygiene by washing hands regularly with soap and water. If not, experts advocate the use of hand sanitizers, especially if your hands come in contact with public space. But due to these fake messages, many tend to stop using alcohol-based sanitizers to avoid any mishaps.