Temperatures across the UK are set to skyrocket this week and Brits are keen to make the most of the good weather.
And if you’re planning an outing in the sun this week, it’s likely you’ve got a hand sanitiser packed and ready to go.
But doctors at Zava UK have warned that in certain cases alcohol-based hand gels can react with sunlight, leading to painful burns and blisters.
Speaking exclusively to Mirror Online, Dr Simran Deo explained: “If you’re going to be spending extended periods of time in direct sunlight, using alcohol-based hand gels could risk causing damage to your skin.
“While the cause of this reaction isn’t fully understood yet, it is known that alcogels can aggravate eczema, as can sun exposure.
“When sufferers scratch their eczema or the little blisters that often form after frequent alcohol gel use, this can lead to infection, which can look and feel like a burn as the area becomes red, weepy and the top layer of skin sheds.”
While regularly cleaning your hands is an essential way to limit the spread of Covid-19, people with existing skin conditions should try to use soap and water, rather than hand sanitiser when possible, according to Dr Deo.
She advised: “Using soap and water remains the most effective way of cleaning your hands after coming into contact with surfaces carrying the virus, but this isn’t always possible when you’re outside of your home and can lead to the same reaction if moisturisers are not used after frequent handwashing.”
Dr Deo added that alternatively, wearing gloves can reduce the risk of burns and blisters forming, although these aren’t ideal.
She said: “You may want to wear gloves to protect your hands, but it’s important to remember that these could pick up the virus too, so try not touch your face or your phone when wearing them.
“If you touch shared surfaces, such as public transport, wear gloves and dispose of them as soon as possible.
“If you can’t find a bin, bring a bag to store used gloves and dispose of them at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Finally, as tempting as it might be to head out in the sun, if you or someone you live with are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, make sure you stay at home.
Dr Deo concluded: “If you or someone you live with is experiencing symptoms such as a high fever or a persistent cough, or if you are classified as medically vulnerable, the guidance is that you should remain at home. If you notice symptoms after visiting a public space, you and everyone in your household should isolate for 14 days. ”