Reports of customers reeking of alcohol after visiting a business who had a “hand sanitizer station” is making people anxious about driving afterwards.
Phased re-openings of businesses after months of being shut down were dependent upon providing safety measures for consumers, with some including hand sanitizing.
However, a shortage of hand sanitizer still plagues much of the US.
And those who can find hand sanitizer find the cost exorbitant.
So many companies anticipating the volume of customers during their opening weeks may be forced to make their own hand sanitizer.
In March multiple media reports discussed how people are turning to their bars to provide alcohol content for their DIY hand sanitizer.
The WHO provided recipes on how to create your own DIY, using 99% isopropyl alcohol during the hand sanitizer shortage.
Most alcohol sold in the US are 40% alcohol based. Hand sanitizer may have anywhere from 60-95% alcohol base.
However Tito’s Vodka warned others NOT to use their vodka for DIY sanitizer as it did not contain the proper amount of alcohol needed to kill pathogens.
Yet reports on social media are fueling speculation that some large businesses are using alcohol to create enough supply to meet the sanitizing demands of their customers.
Although hand sanitizers have an odor, and some contain citrus products to help alter the smell, your hands should not carry a heavy odor of alcohol for an extended period of time.
Will I get pulled over for a DUI?
If you are following traffic laws and not appearing to drive intoxicated, your chances of being pulled over are very slim. However, if you do reek of alcohol, law enforcement may administer a breathalyzer which would demonstrate if alcohol was ingested. Showing law enforcement your hands and explaining where you “gelled up” could also provide some clarity.
Test before you goop
Before sanitizing at a new place, test with a small drop what the smell and texture feels like. You may not need large amounts as you do with at home hand sanitizer products.
Carry your own hand sanitizer
If you have a brand you trust, stick with it and forgo a new experience with a new product. And don’t forget to wash your hands after touching something that has been exposed to the public.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP