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9 Side Effects of Using Hand Sanitizer, According to Doctors

Raise your hand if you’re lucky enough to own a bottle—or 40—of hand sanitizer. Just one problem: There’s a good chance that hand is dry and cracked. Hand sanitizers come with certain side effects that can affect your skin and more. They are an essential tool in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 but not without problems of their own. We asked the top professionals about how to minimize the pain, so you can still use hand sanitizers and without problems. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus. 1 Hand Sanitizers Can Increase Your Risk of Eczema To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the CDC recommends washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if they are not available, using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Following that advice is essential, but “increased contact with irritants and allergens may increase the risk of hand dermatitis or ‘eczema.’ This commonly manifests on the skin with redness, dryness, cracks, and even blisters that cause itch or pain,” Caroline Nelson, M.D. a Yale Medicine dermatologist and instructor at Yale School of Medicine, tells Eat This, Not That! Health.The Rx: “It’s important to not overdo the sanitizer and to moisturize after every use,” advises dermatologist Peterson Pierre, M.D., of the Pierre Skin Care Institute. “Using a moisturizer, ideally containing mineral oil or petrolatum, can help prevent hand dermatitis. While moisturizer should be applied immediately after hand washing, this is not the case when using a hand sanitizer. Individuals should rub their hands together for about 15-30 seconds covering all surfaces with hand sanitizer until the hands are dry, and then apply a moisturizer,” says Dr. Nelson. 2 Hand Sanitizers Can Irritate Your Skin “Hand sanitizers are antiseptic products—they are formulated to disinfect the skin,” says Vanessa Thomas, a cosmetic chemist, and founder of Freelance Formulations. “The primary disinfecting ingredient in hand sanitizer formulas is ethyl or isopropyl alcohol, and they are formulated along with thickeners softeners and sometimes fragrances to curtail the strong smell of alcohol. Frequent use of it can cause skin irritation, or dry out the skin. If you have sensitive skin, the effects can be worse. The drying out is caused by alcohol.”The Rx: “Washing hands with warm water and soap are the best way to kill any germs, but there are times when you don’t have access to a sink and soap,” says Thomas. “If you cannot minimize your hand sanitizer use, a good idea is to follow up with a moisturizing regimen. Dry skin is caused by a lack of water content in the skin. A moisturizer with humectants and occlusives is best. Occlusives help to create a film over the skin to hold the moisture in, and humectants (hyaluronic acid is an example of one) help to attract water to the skin.” 3 Some Formulations Can Affect Fertility “Some hand sanitizers are composed of alcohol, such as ethyl alcohol, as an active ingredient that functions as an antiseptic,” says Dr. Chris Norris, a chartered physiotherapist and neurologist and Clinical Associate Professor at The University of California, of sleepstandards.com. “However, there are some non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers that consist of an antibiotic compound called triclosan or triclocarban. Several research studies have reported that triclosan is a health hazard as its overuse has negative effects on fertility, fetal development, and rates of asthma,”The Rx: “It is always recommended to wash hands with water and soap to completely eradicate the germs. Use sanitizers only when water and soap are not available,” says Dr. Norris. Avoid ones with triclosan or triclocarban. For a complete list of dangerous hand sanitizers the FDA recommends you never buy, go here. 4 Some Might Cause a Resistance to Antibiotics “Exposure to triclosan increases the likelihood of bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics,” says Dr. Norris. Again, find one without triclosan.RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says Most People Did This Before Catching COVID 5 Some May Cause Hormone Problems “According to the FDA, triclosan present in a hand sanitizer also causes hormone problems. This causes the bacteria to adapt to its antimicrobial properties, which creates more antibiotic-resistant strains,” says Dr. Norris.  6 Some Affect Your Immune System “Triclosan also weakens the human immune function. The weakened immune system makes people more susceptible to allergies,” says Dr. Norris.RELATED: This is the #1 Way You’ll Get COVID, According to Doctors 7 Some Can Impact Your Body Development “A hand sanitizer that has too much fragrance could be loaded with toxic chemicals like phthalates and parabens. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors that can affect human body development and reproduction. Parabens are chemicals that can negatively affect the functioning of hormones, fertility, birth outcomes, and reproductive development,” says Dr. Norris.The Rx: Find a phthalate and paraben-free hand sanitizer. 8 You Could Get a Skin Disorder “The overuse of alcohol-based hand sanitizers to safeguard against the germs and infection-causing pathogens could inversely increase the risk of infection via skin disorders. Overdoing may remove benign bacteria on the skin that is not good,” says Dr. Norris. The Rx: “Unlike hand sanitizer, soap and water can effectively remove dirt, grime and eliminate pesticides and other chemical residues that are lingering on your hands,” says Dr. Norris. 9 Hand Sanitizers Could Lead to Alcohol Poisoning As many hand sanitizers contain very high levels of alcohol, doctors witness cases of alcohol poisoning when it’s imbibed. “Since hand sanitizers are easily available, there have been many cases globally where teenagers were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning from consuming hand sanitizer,” says Dr. Norris.The Rx: Do not drink it! Keep it away from your kids and educate your teens. Call 911 immediately if you swallow hand sanitizer. 10 Final Thoughts From the Doctors “Hand sanitizers are a good alternative to reduce potentially infectious microbial load—such as viruses, bacteria, fungus—on the hands or skin, if soap and water is not immediately available,” says Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills, in private practice at SkinSafe Dermatology. But remember: “They do not remove physical dirt/ grime/mucus, and so, are not meant to physically wash your hands,” “Hand sanitizer is not as good as soap,” warns Dr. Norris. “Relying on hand sanitizers to keep hands clean may not be your best strategy.” And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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'The blob': Scientists confirm discovery of a completely new undersea species – Timmins Press

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Thanks to its love for extreme depths and remote oceanic corners, no one had ever seen the blob, or even knew it existed

Meet Duobrachium sparksae – a strange, gelatinous species of ctenophore, encountered during a dive off the coast of Puerto Rico.

NOAA fisheries

Deep in the dark, murky waters of our oceans, a gelatinous blob, shaped like a dislodged human molar, floats along the seabed.

Thanks to its love for extreme depths and remote oceanic corners, no one had ever seen the blob, or even knew it existed, until a team of scientists accidentally discovered it during a deep-sea dive off the coast of Puerto Rico in 2015, with help from an underwater, remotely-operated vehicle called ‘Deep Discover.’

Five years on, in a paper published this month, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have confirmed that the blob is an entirely new species of undersea creature, Duobrachium sparksae – a never-before-seen species of jelly-like ctenophore. It’s also the first time that researchers have discovered a species using high-definition video footage only.

“It’s unique because we were able to describe a new species based entirely on high-definition video,” explained NOAA marine biologist Allen Collins in a release.

“We don’t have the same microscopes as we would in a lab, but the video can give us enough information to understand the morphology in detail, such as the location of their reproductive parts and other aspects.”

Ctenophores, also known as comb jellies, have bulbous, balloon-like bodies, from which protrude two tentacle-like strings, known as cilia. There are between 100 and 150 species of comb jellies, according to the NOAA, and despite their name, they are not at all related to jellyfish. Ctenophores, the group explains, are carnivorous, and many are highly efficient predators that eat small arthropods and many kinds of larvae.

[embedded content]

Three different specimens were filmed by the vehicle at depths around 3,900 metres, in an underwater area called the Arecibo Amphitheater, which lies within a trench known as the Guajataca Canyon, off Puerto Rico. One of the animals appeared to use its tentacles to touch the seabed, scientists said. 

“It was a beautiful and unique organism,” oceanographer Mike Ford was quoted as saying in a release.

“It moved like a hot air balloon attached to the seafloor on two lines, maintaining a specific altitude above the seafloor. Whether it’s attached to the seabed, we’re not sure. We did not observe direct attachment during the dive, but it seems like the organism touches the seafloor.”

Identifying a new species solely via photographic and video evidence has often yielded contentious results, the scientists explained in their paper, as natural classification “relies heavily” on the physical specimen samples preserved in museums “to serve as references to which other material can be compared.”

“Indeed, the idea of using photographic evidence to establish new species has been highly contentious in recent decades.”

In this case, however, the team was able to avoid any pushback due to the high-definition quality of the footage they recorded of the three observed specimens. The team hopes to collect real-life specimens on future dives, but fears it may be decades before they run into the species again.

“Even if we had the equipment, there would have been very little time to process the animal because gelatinous animals don’t preserve very well,” Collins said.

“Ctenophores are even worse than jellyfish in this regard.”

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After Arecibo, NASA isn't sure what comes next for planetary radar – Space.com

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Arecibo Observatory’s massive radio telescope has collapsed; with it has gone a crucial tool in understanding asteroid risks to Earth — and it would take a serious government initiative to replace.

Before the facility sustained irreversible damage in a series of cable failures this year, Arecibo Observatory was Earth’s most powerful planetary radar system. Astronomers can’t use radar to discover new asteroids, but the data that these systems provide can give scientists the details about an object’s size, shape and location they need to better and more quickly evaluate the threat that individual asteroids might pose to Earth. 

“This is a hard thing to have to take [down] an iconic facility like this that’s provided so much for the radio astronomy and planetary radar community over so many decades; it’s really sad to see,” Lindley Johnson, who leads NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, said during a virtual meeting of NASA’s Planetary Advisory Committee held on Nov. 30, the day before the structure collapsed. “It’s certainly not an ideal situation, but I think it really comes down to, it’s time to really get moving on investing in a new planetary radar capability.”

Related: Losing Arecibo’s giant dish leaves humans more vulnerable to space rocks, scientists say

But that’s easier said than done. There are two key complications at play when it comes to investing in planetary radar capability.

One is bureaucratic: Planetary radar has to be done from Earth’s surface. And while NASA leads the country’s asteroid-focused work, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) heads the federal government’s ground-based observations, as it does Arecibo Observatory; NASA merely paid for observation time on the radar system. With the sole exception of NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii, all of the agency’s observing facilities are in space.

(This is also complicated. Technically, the world’s other planetary radar facility, at Goldstone in California, is run by NASA, but that’s because its primary duty is to communicate with spacecraft traversing the solar system. The radar facility recently completed an upgrade and is back to normal observations, although it has a less flexible schedule than Arecibo did and can’t see objects as far from Earth.)

Related: Losing Arecibo Observatory would create a hole that can’t be filled, scientists say 

“The way our agencies are tasked, ground-based observations are the responsibility of NSF,” Lori Glaze, who leads NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said during the same meeting. “It’s not in NASA’s purview.”

A second complication is the cost. A radar beam as powerful as Arecibo’s requires both a powerful transmitter and a massive radio dish, neither of which is cheap. 

Taken together, the challenges mean that NASA would likely need to work out agreements with one or more government counterparts before a new planetary radar system comes online.

“This kind of thing really takes a partnership of agencies,” Johnson said, adding that Arecibo itself traced its roots to a Department of Defense-led partnership. Something similar could rev up planetary radar, he said. “We do definitely have an opportunity and an interest in partnering with the U.S. Space Force on a more capable radar system.” The military branch is interested in the technology as a way to track satellites between Earth and the moon, he added.

Related: Arecibo isn’t the first radio telescope to unexpectedly fail. Here’s what we can learn from Green Bank’s collapse.

A reduction in planetary radar doesn’t strike at the heart of NASA’s planetary defense system, which focuses on discovering and tracking relatively large asteroids that come relatively close to Earth. Spotting such objects relies on facilities that detect optical and infrared light and scan large swaths of the sky regularly enough to notice when a new, fast-moving dot appears against the background of stars.

Radar can’t do that; it requires that scientists have a good idea of precisely where the object they want to study is, so that they can point the narrow radar beam precisely enough to bounce off the object. Instead, planetary defense experts use radar to more quickly plot an object’s orbit farther into the future and to determine characteristics of the object like its shape and density that might affect attempts to deflect an asteroid if it does appear to be on course to impact Earth.

“As far as planetary defense and NEO [near-Earth object] observations are concerned, it’s only a slight negative impact,” Johnson said of the loss of Arecibo’s radar system. “It doesn’t affect our discovery rate of near-Earth objects at all, it only has some impact on the opportunities we have to characterize these objects.”

Radar data of an asteroid dubbed Phaethon captured by Arecibo Observatory in December 2017. (Image credit: Arecibo Observatory/NASA/NSF)

Nevertheless, radar data is nice to have — and definitely the sort of thing Johnson would want for the planetary defense community.

Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia was already planning to add radar capability to its primary radio dish before the loss of Arecibo, scientists say, although the system, like that at Goldstone, won’t replicate Arecibo’s specific skills. And even that new capability would build on an existing facility, rather than starting from scratch, which comes with both benefits and risks.

“In a perfect world, I would pursue a new planetary radar capability,” Johnson said, even before Arecibo’s final collapse. “Trying to keep these old facilities going — they are high maintenance.”

But new capability wouldn’t mean a copy of Arecibo’s iconic dish, he emphasized. “It’s really time to be looking at the next generation of planetary radar capabilities,” he said, in particular hypothesizing that an array of dishes may be a more appealing approach now than Arecibo’s single massive dish.

“Technology has moved on since the 30, 40 years ago that the radar capability was installed at Arecibo,” Johnson said. “We need to take advantage.”

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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'The blob': Scientists confirm discovery of a completely new undersea species – Alberta Daily Herald Tribune

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Thanks to its love for extreme depths and remote oceanic corners, no one had ever seen the blob, or even knew it existed

Meet Duobrachium sparksae – a strange, gelatinous species of ctenophore, encountered during a dive off the coast of Puerto Rico.

NOAA fisheries

Deep in the dark, murky waters of our oceans, a gelatinous blob, shaped like a dislodged human molar, floats along the seabed.

Thanks to its love for extreme depths and remote oceanic corners, no one had ever seen the blob, or even knew it existed, until a team of scientists accidentally discovered it during a deep-sea dive off the coast of Puerto Rico in 2015, with help from an underwater, remotely-operated vehicle called ‘Deep Discover.’

Five years on, in a paper published this month, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have confirmed that the blob is an entirely new species of undersea creature, Duobrachium sparksae – a never-before-seen species of jelly-like ctenophore. It’s also the first time that researchers have discovered a species using high-definition video footage only.

“It’s unique because we were able to describe a new species based entirely on high-definition video,” explained NOAA marine biologist Allen Collins in a release.

“We don’t have the same microscopes as we would in a lab, but the video can give us enough information to understand the morphology in detail, such as the location of their reproductive parts and other aspects.”

Ctenophores, also known as comb jellies, have bulbous, balloon-like bodies, from which protrude two tentacle-like strings, known as cilia. There are between 100 and 150 species of comb jellies, according to the NOAA, and despite their name, they are not at all related to jellyfish. Ctenophores, the group explains, are carnivorous, and many are highly efficient predators that eat small arthropods and many kinds of larvae.

[embedded content]

Three different specimens were filmed by the vehicle at depths around 3,900 metres, in an underwater area called the Arecibo Amphitheater, which lies within a trench known as the Guajataca Canyon, off Puerto Rico. One of the animals appeared to use its tentacles to touch the seabed, scientists said. 

“It was a beautiful and unique organism,” oceanographer Mike Ford was quoted as saying in a release.

“It moved like a hot air balloon attached to the seafloor on two lines, maintaining a specific altitude above the seafloor. Whether it’s attached to the seabed, we’re not sure. We did not observe direct attachment during the dive, but it seems like the organism touches the seafloor.”

Identifying a new species solely via photographic and video evidence has often yielded contentious results, the scientists explained in their paper, as natural classification “relies heavily” on the physical specimen samples preserved in museums “to serve as references to which other material can be compared.”

“Indeed, the idea of using photographic evidence to establish new species has been highly contentious in recent decades.”

In this case, however, the team was able to avoid any pushback due to the high-definition quality of the footage they recorded of the three observed specimens. The team hopes to collect real-life specimens on future dives, but fears it may be decades before they run into the species again.

“Even if we had the equipment, there would have been very little time to process the animal because gelatinous animals don’t preserve very well,” Collins said.

“Ctenophores are even worse than jellyfish in this regard.”

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