(CNN) — The world may have changed drastically over the last few months due to the pandemic, but the laws of combustion have not.
While hand sanitizer has become an integral part of the daily routine for countless people around the globe, it could make for a painful combination this Fourth of July when fireworks come into play.
Fireworks are synonymous with July Fourth celebrations in the U.S.; hand sanitizer contains alcohol, which is highly flammable.
Do the math.
“Alcohol and fire do not mix,” National Safety Council (NSC) spokeswoman Maureen Vogel told CNN. “You shouldn’t pair flammable items; it’s the proverbial recipe for disaster.”
More than 7,000 people reported injuries related to fireworks near the Fourth of July last year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPS).
The USCPS said 57% of fireworks-related injuries are for burns.
Play it safe
The National Safety Council strongly recommends leaving the fireworks to professionals to handle.
“Amateurs shouldn’t be using fireworks,” Vogel said. “We know people are yearning for signs of normalcy, and fireworks are a cherished tradition on one of the most beloved holidays. But safety is more important than nostalgia. Leave the fireworks to the professionals.”
However, if you can’t resist, make sure to keep hand sanitizer or anything flammable away from any type of fire.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with greater than 60% ethanol, or 70% isopropanol. But with fireworks increasing the risk for burns, Vogel recommends that you “wash your hands the old-fashioned way, with soap and water.”
“Combining flammable items is always a bad idea,” Vogel added. “Keep hand sanitizer away from the fireworks area.”
Hand hygiene is still important, so if you’re not handling anything flammable and are far away from any type of fire, it’s OK to use.
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