Risks

Risks

COVID-19: The Health Risks of Making Your Own Hand Sanitiser


Hand hygiene is an important part of the fight against COVID-19, but homebrew hand sanitisers can do more harm than good.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, more people are buying hand sanitisers than ever before. As one of the most sought after panic buy products, most shops and pharmacies are selling out as soon as they get a chance to restock. The result of this, however, has been a trend of people making homemade hand sanitisers with limited knowledge of what works against the virus or how to produce safe hand hygiene products.

How do hand sanitisers vary?
Broadly, there are two types of sanitisers to be aware of: alcohol-based and alcohol-free. Industry-standard alcohol-free sanitisers contain substitute chemicals that are just as effective in eliminating all microbes, including Coronavirus. The effectiveness of hand sanitisers will, however, vary dependent on the ratio and strength of their chemicals so this should be considered when making a purchase.

Are all alcohol-based hand sanitisers the same?
Alcohol is present within hand sanitisers in two forms that should be looked out for: Isopropanol Alcohol (IPA) and Denatured Ethanol (DE). Both of these types of alcohol are able to protect against the virus. There will also usually be a percentage found on any hand sanitisers, however, that is important. This percentage tells you the volume of alcohol present within the hand sanitiser. According to the CDC’s Hand Hygiene Recommendations, sanitisers should have contain more than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol to protect effectively against the virus.

While it may feel intuitive to go for as high an alcohol volume as possible, those that are very high in alcohol content can actually be ineffective. This is because, the higher the alcohol content in sanitisers, the quicker they evaporate when applied to skin.

Why not make my own hand sanitiser?
While self-isolation can inspire people’s DIY spirit, it is important to remember that there is a reason why hand sanitiser companies exist in the first place. From damaging or cracking skin after use (making them more susceptible to infection), to cross-contamination, making your own can hand sanitiser can cause more problems than it solves. IPA and DE also present a significant safety risk when handled outside a controlled environment, being highly flammable substances.

There is also the risk that popular homemade sanitiser recipes are actually not going to protect against the virus. One such recipe, popularised here on the Verge, requires 91 percent rubbing alcohol and one part aloe vera gel. This recipe should produce something with theoretically 60.6% alcohol content. According to CDC guidelines, however, an IPA-based hand sanitiser should contain at least 70% to be effective against COVID-19.

Keeping hands sanitised
Local newsagents along with online cleaning product suppliers that are still stocking hand sanitisers, such as Cleanroom Supplies, can both be effective alternatives to making regular trips to the supermarket. While in the home, it is also important to remember that soap and warm water are effective for protecting against COVID-19, meaning that you can save your hand sanitiser for whenever you need to make a journey. As the CDC highlight in their hand sanitiser factsheet, however, you must make sure that your hands are clean and washed before using any hand sanitiser.

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The New Tool for CISOs To Quantify IT Risks And Solutions Into Actual Figures For The Board


There is currently an operational disconnect between CISOs/CTOs or CIOs and the board or decision-makers. This is primarily caused by speaking different languages; that is, cyber professionals expressing themselves in technological terms, and the board understanding concepts from a purely financial or business perspective. Although each party works towards the same aim – protecting the company from risk – they approach it with a unique parlance that can hinder company responsiveness and leave it open to threats.

Gartner recognises risk management as a key trend of 2019 but translating cyber threats into financial risk can be resource-intensive. It’s the responsibility of the IT side to identify these risks, find solutions, and create budget requests in a format and language that the board immediately recognises.

This helps them to understand the risk, know what they’re being asked to approve, and give the green light without any unnecessary clarifications or delays. Cyber threats constantly evolve and must be addressed quickly; prolonged budget applications only serve to increase the risk.

Recognising and understanding this landscape led to the creation of Boardish. An innovative and revolutionary new tool that changes the way IT professionals, CISOs, CTOs, and CIOs communicate with their board of directors or business decision-makers. It helps to fill the soft skills gap, allowing cyber professionals to quantify IT risks and solutions in terms of their financial impact. Boardish provides clarity by showing the risk mitigation of your solutions, as well as remaining exposure, transforming this data into a proposal with actual figures. Achieving this allusive clarity and bridging the communication gap between IT and the board.

Boardish is the brainchild of Eli Migdal and Hadar Kantor. Eli is an IT and cyber expert who has helped countless clients and businesses to find and implement the right cyber solutions. Hadar has over 19 years’ experience in management and board communication, with an emphasis on management psychology and corporate organisation. Both Eli and Hadar understand the challenges faced by IT managers/CISOs and CTOs and the most effective ways to gain important budget approvals from the board.

Boardish was created as a tool to help improve client understanding, but it became so much greater – evolving into the smart, indispensable tool that helps IT and the board understand each other.

Boardish is currently in beta. It’s desktop-optimised and can be used for free, although this may change as features continue to develop. It doesn’t need to be integrated into any existing systems, and is intuitively designed, making it easy for anyone to get started.

Internal communications and IT budget approvals can be difficult, but Boardish is helping to spark conversations within the companies it serves, allowing IT departments to be better integrated into fundamental decision-making.

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