If you bought an ultraviolet (UV) light or wand thinking it will disinfect and protect against COVID-19, stop using it immediately because it could be doing more harm than good.
Health Canada issued an advisory Wednesday warning against the purchase of COVID-19-fighting UV lights and wands because it says the devices can actually negatively impact your skin and eyes.
Many of the products specifically use UVC light, a dangerous form of UV radiation.
“UVC is an extremely dangerous form of UV radiation and, although it can destroy some germs on non-porous surfaces, if used on the skin, there is a risk that it can cause harm or injury,” the release from Health Canada reads.
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The products have been advertised to cellphones, house keys and other products from COVID-19. These claims have not been proven and experts have repeatedly debunked the theory that UV lights can protect specifically against COVID-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against the use of UV light to disinfect your hands or other parts of the body because it can actually damage your skin or eyes. The organization recommends the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure is thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water.
So what should you do if you have one of these products? Health Canada recommends you immediately stop using it, and consult a health professional if you’ve used it on your skin and irritation has occurred.
The agency is also encouraging Canadians to report false or misleading advertising or the sale of these types of products.
This isn’t the first time Canada’s public health agency has warned against misleading products in the fight against COVID-19. Everything from specific types of masks to mushrooms to oregano oil has been falsely promoted as helping to fight the virus.
For the most accurate information on how you can prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada has published a list of hand sanitizers and disinfectants that meet Health Canada requirements, as well as lists of specific masks and respirators that work best.