Hyderabad: The COVID-19 pandemic has left the space open for speculations, with misinformation gaining free rein across social media platforms. Hand sanitisers have become a household name after health officials have advised frequent hand washing and hand hygiene. Among one of the messages that went viral on social media, such as WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook, is an image of burnt hands, with the caption that explains how the hands were burnt after going near the stove after applying hand sanitiser. However, is this true?
The image that has been doing the rounds on WhatsApp shows two burnt hands, with a burn injury on the right hand, with new skin appearing on both the hands as well. The image is accompanied with this text, “This lady here applied sanitizer on her arms and went to the kitchen to cook. The moment she turn on the stove, her hand caught fire due to the alcohol contained in the sanitizer. All please be careful!”
Similar messages were being shared on Facebook as well.
NewsMeter conducted a Google Reverse Image search of this image. While the same image was not used in a different context before, reports have suggested that the image is from a person hand’s on which skin graft was being done. Skin graft refers to the surgical operation that consists of removing the skin from one part of the body and placing it on another part of the body. It is usually done on burn injuries. However, this image is not exactly a burn injury caused by a hand sanitiser as claimed by the viral message.
Rakesh Mishra, the director for Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Hyderabad said, “The images do not seem like burns caused due to hand sanitiser. The injuries could be due to some unwarranted contamination caused by hazardous chemicals. Hand sanitisers are safe to use, and the alcohol content in it immediately evaporates after usage. It lasts just for a minute or so. So unless you keep your hands near the fire suddenly after using sanitiser, or before the sanitiser goes completely dry on your palms, your hands won’t really get burnt, as the images claim,” he said.
So, the claim that images are burn injuries caused after going to the kitchen using hand sanitiser is FALSE. However, health experts have advised caution in using hand sanitisers and handling fire immediately after, since the alcohol content in the sanitiser is flammable.