EL PASO, Texas -- As fear over the COVID-19 virus continues to grow, many are stocking up on food and cleaning supplies.
A new Nielsen report found that hand sanitizer sales were up 73% in a four-week period ending in Feb. 22 compared to the same time last year.
The lack of hand sanitizer in stores and online is leading many to search for recipes to make their own. Dr. Oscar Vega, the Chief Medical Officer at Las Palmas Medical Center, said he would not recommend doing so.
"There might be chemicals that are harmful to children, and of course they might not be as effective as regular hand soap [and washing] your hands for 20 seconds," Dr. Vega said.
If you're able to make your own hand sanitizer correctly, it can be effective. The problem is most homemade recipes won't fit qualifications, as most won't match the necessary 60% alcohol content needed.
Doctors say there are other ways to prevent the spread of the virus, including just washing hands with soap and water. However, soap is selling out, and Dr. Vega says water alone probably won't do the trick.
"Water in itself is clean. It is not sterile," he said. "It is treated with chlorine which does help, but just basic water by itself would not be highly recommended without soap."
Ideally, look for antibacterial soaps for hand washing.