The coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of most public fireworks shows for the Fourth of July. So, some families are celebrating with their own firework displays in the backyard. But, health and safety experts have a warning tonight about mixing fireworks and hand sanitizer.

For months now, I’ve been telling you about the importance of using hand sanitizer to help protect you from contracting the coronavirus. But, now I am telling you to put the sanitizer away IF you are handling fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend.

Hand sanitizer and fireworks are a dangerous combination that could send you to the E.R. with burns.  That’s because the sanitizer usually contains 60- to 70-percent alcohol, which of course is highly potent and flammable. The disinfectant does evaporate after 30 seconds, but the alcohol remains on your hands.

Instead, I recommend washing your hands with soap and water before playing with or lighting fireworks. And, the same goes if you’re near an open flame, such as a grill or campfire. Wash your hands.  Don’t use hand sanitizer. That way, you’re protected from the coronavirus and from getting burn injuries.

This is always a particularly dangerous time of the year for fireworks-related injuries. What else should people be aware of when handling fireworks?

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 7-thousand people were treated for fireworks-related injuries last year. And, 57-percent of those were burns.

Consumer fireworks can be dangerous if not handled correctly. For example, Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2-thousand degrees Fahrenheit, making them an easy ignition source. So, again, don’t keep hand sanitizer or anything flammable near fireworks.

Also … Never allow small children to play with fireworks…

Don’t place any part of your body directly over fireworks when lighting the fuse….

And, never point or throw fireworks at anyone.

How to safely celebrate the Fourth of July during the coronavirus outbreak.

There are some precautions you can take to lessen your chances of contracting the coronavirus.

First, Keep Your Distance.  Stay at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with. I know it’s difficult, but this means no handshakes, fist bumps or hugs.

Secondly, Wear a Cloth Mask over your nose and mouth.

Third, Wash Your Hands Often with soap and water.

And lastly, Host Your Barbecue Outdoors.  You can social distance, get some sun, and stay safe at the same time.